A 66-year-old woman who was lodged in the Howard County Jail while drunk Sunday evening, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Hospital Monday, Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers reported.
Linda G. Ellis, 1115 S. Wabash Ave., was found unresponsive in her cell around 2:50 p.m. Monday, Rogers said. Jail staff and medical staff tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate her prior to the arrival of an ambulance.
Howard County Coroner Jay Price said it is believed that coronary artery disease may have contributed to the death, but said he's waiting on an autopsy report before announcing a cause of death.
Police were called to Main Street and Woodland Avenue around 3:40 p.m. Sunday on a report of an unwelcome female who was possibly drunk, according to court records.
On arrival, they found Ellis attempting to enter a residence, surrounded by three individuals who were preventing her from entering.
Officers said Ellis, who was using a walker, did not live at the residence she was trying to enter. At one point, police said, she swung her walker, nearly hitting one of them in the leg. Police said she was abusive and appeared intoxicated.
They took her into custody and performed a portable breath test. According to police, Ellis tested .112 BAC.
Ellis was well-known to local law enforcement and had a history of convictions on petty offenses dating back at least to the early 1990s.
Court records show relatives assumed legal guardianship for her from 2007 to 2009. It was during that period, in late 2008, when Ellis was arrested and convicted of a felony drunken driving charge.
In one of the court entries from that case, her attorney at the time told the court Ellis was living in a local nursing home and suffering from alcohol-induced dementia.
"She had lots and lots of times in jail and her family was aware of it," Rogers said Tuesday. "A lot of it was alcohol related, and that was probably a complication."
Rogers said the incident remains under investigation.