Inquest jury recommends further RCMP education on intoxication levels

Lohouse was found unresponsive in his cell on September 9, 2011, after being in police custody for just over three hours. 

As the seven person jury could not see the closed circuit television coverage clearly, it recommends that the detachment improve the coverage and picture quality of the cell block video cameras. The jury foreperson pointed out that blind spots meant the guard was unable to see if the prisoner was breathing, and suggested that a camera on the opposite wall or a 360 degree view from the ceiling would provide a better view. A second viewing screen at the Watch Commander’s desk was also recommended to provide a second set of eyes, something that New Westminster Police Department Staff Sergeant Chris Mullin said was available at their detachment. 

It was also recommended that the detachment have an automated external defibrillator in the cell block, and that at least one member on duty be trained to use it. In this case, the Fort St. John Fire Department had to bring the AED. 

Lastly, further education about all levels of intoxication from experienced to social drinkers is also recommended, with semi-annual refresher courses for officers and guards. Several people testified that Lohouse did not seem as intoxicated as he actually was, which experts said was likely due to experienced drinkers being able to mask their symptoms. 

The jury determined that his immediate cause of death was respiratory failure from ethanol and mixed drug intoxication, with severe focal coronary artery atherosclerosis as a contributing factor, as his autopsy showed major blockages in two of the arteries in his heart. At the time of his accidental death, Lohouse had a blood alcohol level over four times the legal limit for driving, as well as therapeutic amounts of antidepressant and sedative drugs in his system, along with Lidocaine and marijuana.

His time of death was between 8:55 and 9:10 p.m.

About Erica Fisher 4010 Articles

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.