The death of an inmate at the San Luis Obispo County Jail has been ruled accidental, according to a coroner’s report.
Josey Richard Meche, 28, died while in custody in the early morning hours of March 12 after he was found in a San Luis Obispo resident’s front yard on the evening of March 11. Meche was “carrying a big stick and bags in his hands.”
According to the coroner’s report, Meche, a transient who had a history of drug use and mental health issues, died of a methamphetamine-induced heart attack “with contributing factors of hyperthermia and a fatty infiltration of the heart muscle.” Meche was found unresponsive in his cell shortly after being checked into the jail. Jail officials unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate him, after which they transferred Meche to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
On March 18, Meche filed a federal lawsuit against three San Luis Obispo police officers claiming injuries, pain and suffering, and mental illness “caused by illegal actions of officers.” In his complaint, Meche claimed SLO officers were overly aggressive during a March 11, 2013, arrest, during which he said he was pinned and dragged along the ground. The case was dismissed on March 3 of this year.
According to the coroner’s report, “he did not appear to be in distress” when he was taken into custody in the most recent arrest. After reviewing video of the arrest, the coroner determined that Meche was taken in with only minor “passive resistance” and he did not “complain of any physical ailments.”