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Details released in 2 Jackson County Jail deaths

An inmate who died in the Jackson County Jail Saturday suffered a stroke, while an inmate who died in the jail three months earlier was not monitored according to jail rules, according to investigations released by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Carl George Sullivant, 46, died of a stroke in an infirmary cell Saturday morning, according to Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler.

On the night of Nov. 4, corrections deputies missed an hourly check on 28-year-old Scott Lee Ashbaugh before jail staff found him dead by hanging.

Detectives from the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit determined Ashbaugh’s death was a suicide with no criminal element, according to Sickler. Detectives referred their findings to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, but the agency has not yet issued a final report.

Sickler said he’s waiting for the district attorney’s reports before considering policy changes or disciplining staff in the inmate deaths.

“Upon completion of the administrative reviews of both cases, I will be able to determine if any policy and/or procedures need to be changed or implemented or if there is any discipline warranted because we did not follow protocols,” Sickler wrote in an email.

Sickler said it’s not clear how much impact the missed hourly check would have made in stopping Ashbaugh’s suicide. Once the district attorney’s report is completed, Sickler said, an internal review will be conducted to find out why a corrections deputy missed the check on Ashbaugh.

Oregon law requires corrections deputies to check each inmate at least once an hour, and document when exactly they were checked, according to earlier news reports. Inmates with medical problems, on suicide watch or at risk of violent behavior are checked every 15 minutes.

The investigation into Sullivant’s death is at an early stage, according to Sickler. Sullivant was reportedly moved to a high-traffic part of the jail reserved for inmates under a medical watch, after he told jail staff he wasn’t feeling well.

Sullivant did not fully cooperate with medical staff leading up to his death, Sickler said.

Sullivant collapsed when he was by himself in the cell after suffering a “massive stroke,” according to Sickler.

Sullivant hit his head when he fell in his cell, but the medical examiner determined that Sullivant experienced the medical issue prior to the fall, and that the head injury is not believed to have been a major contributing factor to his death.

Prior to the two most recent inmate deaths, six years had passed since the last inmate death at the jail. The last death at the jail was in May 2013, when 19-year-old Kyle Louis Mellon hanged himself. Sickler said he worked as an investigator for Mellon’s suicide.

Last year, corrections deputies Cody Fuhrman and Steven Sagert were recognized by the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association for their efforts to save an inmate who tried to jump over a railing May 11, 2018.

Fuhrman caught the inmate by the leg as he dangled over the edge, while Sagert ran upstairs to help, according to Sickler.

“The deputies were able to pull the inmate back to safety, despite the inmate’s active resistance,” a press release stated at the time.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

The current Jackson County Jail was built in 1981.{ } Mail Tribune file photo.
Carl George Sullivant suffered a stroke while he was a Jackson County Jail inmate.{ } His death was the second in three months. JCSO photo.