Coroner: Man who died after arrest had no trauma or injury

Coroner: Man who died after arrest had no trauma, injury

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Police are investigating the death of a man who died after he was arrested on Tuesday.

According to police, Dean Smith Junior, 25-years-old, was arrested on several outstanding warrants including fleeing from law enforcement.

According to police, Dean Smith Junior, 25-years-old, was arrested on several outstanding warrants including fleeing from law enforcement.
According to police, Dean Smith Junior, 25-years-old, was arrested on several outstanding warrants including fleeing from law enforcement. (Source: WFIE)

Around 6 p.m. Tuesday, police say they were following a vehicle that Smith Jr. was a passenger in. The car was eventually pulled over by a police K-9 unit on Barker Avenue.

Police said during the news conference Smith got out of the car and ran. The officer and K-9 chased after him.

When they caught up with him, the officer ordered him to surrender, but Smith kept going. After a second chase, Smith was caught by the K-9 and taken into custody.

Police say Smith had puncture wounds from the K-9 so they called for an ambulance. After being placed on a gurney, police say Smith stopped breathing.

Despite life-saving efforts, police say he died at the hospital.

EPD news conference on death investigation

In the body camera video, police can be heard saying they thought Smith was being dramatic about his injuries.

When asked about this part of the video, Evansville Police Department Sgt. Nick Winsett said the officers wouldn’t have said those things if they knew there a medical issue.

“Given what we found out later, no he was not," Sgt. Winsett said. "But again you have to take what these officers knew at the time. But you have to take what these officers knew at the time. They had no knowledge that there was a potential medical issue otherwise they would not have said anything.”

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear says the autopsy found no trauma or injury that would have caused death.

He says there will now be microscopic tissue testing and toxicology. He says it could take a few weeks to get those results back.

Police say the K-9 officer involved is on three-day paid administrative leave, which is standard policy.

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