County inmate tries to kill himself |

County inmate tries to kill himself

John Colson

An inmate at the Pitkin County jail attempted to hang himself last Saturday night, but was found before the attempt was successful, according to jail officials.Deputies at the jail declined to reveal the man’s name. Jail Administrator Don Bird said that while the man has been living and working in the area for some time, he is not a longtime local.A jailer said the man had been living in the valley for a number of years and that he came here from South America. He is in his mid 40s, authorities said.Bird explained that the man had been in jail for about a month, having been convicted on drunk driving charges, and was being let out during the day on a work-release program. He was due to be released from jail next week.The inmate came back to jail on Saturday night, Bird said, and jailers reported that he smelled of alcohol.Deputies performed a blood test, Bird said, and the inmate’s blood alcohol level was “pretty high,” so he was placed in the jail’s isolation cell for observation, where he was checked by a jailer every 15 minutes.”There was no reason to suspect this guy was suicidal,” Bird said, explaining that the monitoring process is standard procedure when an inmate is discovered to have been using drugs or alcohol.It was during one of the periodic checks, Bird said, that a female jailer discovered that the inmate had wrapped his bed sheet around the toilet bowl and then around his own neck.The jailer entered the cell and cut the man free, then called for paramedics to come and take him to Valley View Hospital for examination.”I don’t think he lost consciousness,” Bird said.Asked if he knew why the man tried to kill himself, he replied, “We think he was despondent over getting popped for drinking.”The man stayed in the hospital overnight and as of Sunday afternoon was back in the jail and under observation.The inmate will face a disciplinary hearing, Bird said, and the fact that he was drinking while on work release could result in the loss of his time off for good behavior. That could mean more time in jail.John Colson’s e-mail address is

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