Inmate who died had meth-induced heart attack, authorities say

The San Luis Obispo County Jail inmate who was found unresponsive in his cell and later died had succumbed to a methamphetamine-induced heart attack, among other factors, according to a toxicology report released Thursday by the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.

Generally speaking, the report said, Josey Richard Meche, 28, died from methamphetamine toxicity, as well as contributing factors such as hyperthermia — or core temperature overheating — and a fatty infiltration of the right ventricular wall heart muscle.

Hyperthermia can be caused by drug toxicity or an infection, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla.

The manner of death is being considered accidental.

Meche was booked into jail following an incident on the 700 block of Mountain View Street in San Luis Obispo, where he was found in a residence’s driveway “acting bizarre,” according to San Luis Obispo police Capt. Chris Staley. He later became combative with officers and had to be placed in a “control hold.” Staley said he calmed down after the arrest.

Jail staff also reported that Meche was cooperative during his booking just before midnight March 11 and did not complain of any medical problems before he was found in his cell at 1 a.m. March 12.

He was taken to Sierra Vista Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:49 a.m.

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