KUSA — A 23-year-old man who was found unconscious as he was taken to a detox center in Boulder has died after spending a month in critical condition at a Denver-area hospital.
According to a release from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, Demetrius Shankling died Saturday evening - nearly a month after he was found unconscious in the back of a jail transport van during the early morning hours of Sept. 9.
The agency says around 2:30 a.m. that Sunday, deputies were called to 9th Street and Canyon Boulevard to take an "intoxicated man" (later identified as Shankling) into protective custody for transport to Boulder's Addiction Recovery Center.
Deputies said Shankling "displayed extreme signs of intoxication and was verbally belligerent with Boulder officer's (sic) and sheriff's deputies." In the release, it was not specified what Shankling was allegedly under the influence of.
Shankling was transported in a sheriff's jail transport van to the ARC, which is in the same complex as the Boulder County Jail. When the two deputies - who have only been identified as 10-year and 17-year veterans of the agency - went to remove him from the van, Shankling was unconscious and unresponsive.
The deputies could not find a pulse and realized he was not breathing. The transport deputies began CPR and were joined by nearby officers as well as several other first responders who worked to save Shankling's life.
Medical personnel were able to regain his pulse while still at the ARC, and Shankling was then taken in critical condition to Boulder Community's Foothills Hospital and later to a hospital in Denver where he died on Saturday evening.
An investigation was launched to determine what may have caused the man to lose consciousness and enter respiratory and cardiac arrest while in custody during the transport. Both of the involved deputies said no force was used, and it is not yet known why Shankling became gravely sick or injured.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle requested the Boulder County Investigation Team - a team of multi-jurisdictional investigators - conduct the investigation.
It's too early in the investigation to "speculate or reach any conclusions about what led the man to lose consciousness and go into respiratory and cardiac arrest," a release read. The investigation, led by the Longmont Police Department, is active and ongoing.