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MailTribune.com
  • Meth found in system of veteran who died in custody

  • An Eagle Point man who died in June after police shot him with a stun gun had methamphetamine in his system during the altercation, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office said Friday in a news release.
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  • An Eagle Point man who died in June after police shot him with a stun gun had methamphetamine in his system during the altercation, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office said Friday in a news release.
    A forensics laboratory found trace amounts of methamphetamine and amphetamine in 44-year-old Scott Chappell's system during an autopsy conducted by the Oregon State Police medical examiner. Methamphetamine is metabolized as amphetamine.
    "That's often the substance they find," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.
    No criminal charges will be filed against Eagle Point police officers Heidi Kazakoff and Dennis Hoschler, who subdued Chappell during the June 12 altercation, officials said.
    Heckert said an investigation, conducted by the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit, showed police did not use excessive force while taking Chappell into custody during an episode in which he was behaving erratically and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
    "If someone is in custody and they die, we treat that as a major case," Heckert said.
    Police responded in the evening hours of June 12 following a 911 call from Chappell's Little Butte Drive home.
    The caller, Chappell's mother, Carol Kidder, said her son had not slept in five days and was coming down off methamphetamine.
    Police and emergency services personnel from Jackson County Fire District No. 3 and Mercy Flights responded to the scene. Chappell, a U.S. Army veteran of Kosovo and Afghanistan, was behaving erratically and sweating profusely.
    After unsuccessful attempts to transport Chappell to the hospital, police tried to subdue him. Chappell struggled. Police used a stun gun on him and placed him in handcuffs. Chappell was sedated, and when his breathing became shallow, he was rushed to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
    Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. James Olson listed the cause of death as complications of methamphetamine intoxication and the manner of death as accidental, according to the release.
    Chappell's mother said she is considering legal action but declined to comment further.
    She said Chappell had been working toward a nursing degree at Rogue Community College.
    "He loved it," she said.
    Kidder said Chappell had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder following his military service, but that he had been dealing with it.
    "He didn't have a violent streak in him," Kidder said. "He would give you the shirt off his back. He was a good son. He was a good person."
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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