Inmate from Portland dies at Jefferson County Jail

Sheriff: 'Medical issue' brings first inmate death

MADRAS, Ore. - A 59-year-old inmate from Portland died of a “serious medical issue” Wednesday morning at the Jefferson County Jail as paramedics were administering CPR, Sheriff Jim Adkins said. It was the first inmate death at the jail, he added.

James Eugene Wippel was arrested Monday by Warm Springs police on charges of heroin possession and delivery and methamphetamine possession, Adkins said. He was taken to the county jail without incident.

On Wednesday morning, Wippel told jail staff he was not feeling well and was seen by the nursing staff, the sheriff said.

Around 8:30 a.m., jail staff gave Wippel a conditional release and prepared him for transport to St. Charles Madras. However, when Wippel again began showing signs of distress, sheriff’s staff summoned an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived at the jail and prepared Wippel for transport, having to administer CPR, but efforts to save him were unsuccessful, Adkins said.

Adkins requested an autopsy be performed and called in the Central Oregon Major Incident Team for an investigation.

“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office staff care deeply about the medical well-being of inmates, and will fully cooperate with the Central Oregon Major Incident Team,” Adkins said in a news release.

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