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Saturday, Dec 21 2013 03:28 PM

Bakersfield man dies en route to jail

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A Bakersfield man died Saturday morning while in custody of Kern County sheriff's deputies.

According to a news release from the Kern County Coroner's Office, Thomas Clinton Smoot, 27, died at 7:34 a.m. at the emergency room at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.

Details remain sketchy, but a separate news release from the Kern County Sheriff's Office said the incident began at about 6:30 a.m. in the 600 block of Francis Street in Oildale when multiple people called to say a man, later identified as Smoot, was in the neighborhood yelling for help. At least one of the reporting parties observed Smoot rolling around in one of the resident's front yard and shortly after he observed Smoot doing push-ups.

At about 6:34 a.m. a deputy arrived and contacted Smoot. The deputy was able to handcuff the man without using any force, the release said. Deputies determined Smoot was under the influence of alcohol and narcotics and placed him under arrest.

As a deputy was transporting Smoot to the downtown jail he noticed Smoot appeared to be in medical distress. The deputy stopped his vehicle in the 800 block of North Chester Avenue and began performing basic life support procedures, according to the release.

Emergency workers from the Kern County Fire Department and Hall Ambulance arrived a short time later. Smoot was taken to the hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead.

Cause and manner of death will be determined by an autopsy expected next week.

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