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Man dies after reportedly ingesting illegal drugs

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
May 14, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.
Updated May 15, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.


A Victoria man died early Tuesday at an Edna hospital just three hours after a traffic stop, during which officials thought he swallowed illegal drugs.

Tom Vinger, media and communications press secretary for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Will Jeff Turner Jr., 50, was stopped by a Jackson County sheriff's deputy at 10:30 p.m. Monday at South East and Rowlett streets in Edna.

Edna police officers also responded to the scene, Vinger said.

Turner was driving a pickup and had a passenger, Charles Jeffery Kitchens, 35, of Victoria.

Turner was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and Kitchens had been arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, which was suspected to be cocaine, and tampering with evidence.

Vinger said the tampering charge stemmed from Edna police observing Kitchens possibly ingesting the cocaine before the men were arrested. Both were taken to Jackson County Jail.

But before Kitchens was booked into jail, he was taken to Jackson County Hospital for a medical evaluation.

He died at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, and his body was taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, where they determined there was no obvious trauma. A toxicology report is pending, Vinger said.

The Jackson County Sheriffs Office transferred the case to the Texas Rangers at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday for further investigation.

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