Terry Wayne West

Terry Wayne West died while in custody at the El Paso County Jail on June 27, 2019. Courtesy photo.

The Colorado Springs man who died after a “medical episode” at the El Paso County jail last week was Terry Wayne West, 57, police said.

West was taken to the jail’s medical section, where his behavior turned “erratic and then self-harming,” the Sheriff’s Office earlier reported. He became unresponsive as deputies restrained him to keep him from hurting himself, the agency said.

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Jail staff and first responders tried to revive West, but he died about 4:30 a.m., 30 minutes after he was taken to the medical wing, the Sheriff’s Office said.

West was jailed on suspicion of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation and driving under the influence of drugs. He also was suspected of violating parole, said police, who are investigating his death.

The county Coroner’s Office will determine the manner and cause of his death.

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Two deputies and one sergeant in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave, per policy, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby has said.

The medical wing has about a dozen holding cells, where inmates are checked every 15 minutes, sheriff’s officials said recently. The wing is staffed by medical professionals employed by the jail’s for-profit contractor, Armor Correctional Health Services.

Sheriff Bill Elder, facing claims that inmates have gone without critical care, is now looking for a new jail health care provider. Armor's contract with the county is renewable for two more years, but the company has said it will end its relationship with the county after this year.

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The family of a woman who died in the jail in October has threatened to sue the county and Armor for $5 million, saying she still would be alive if the staff hadn’t ignored her medical crisis.

The family of Deramus Lemuel also might sue. He died in August after he went into cardiac arrest at the jail while high on drugs and was held down by jailers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been revised to clarify that Armor has said it will not renew its inmate medical contract with the county next year. The contract, which took effect in 2017, is renewable for up to five years.

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