Woman who died in jail had high blood-alcohol level

EVERETT — Kathleen Ann Swann-Deutsch, 51, of Woodinville, tested at nearly four times the legal blood alcohol limit when she was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on July 24.

Two days later, she was the eighth inmate to die at the Snohomish County Jail since 2010.

Her cause of death remains under investigation by the county medical examiner.

Swann-Deutsch was being held in the jail’s medical unit. Jail staff were making their hourly checks about 10:30 p.m. Friday when they discovered that she wasn’t breathing.

The sheriff’s office, which runs the jail, is investigating.

Her death likely will now become part of a review of jail operations already set to begin in a few weeks. The sheriff’s office requested the review from the U.S. Department of Justice in March, citing concerns about medical services. At least two legal claims are pending against the county, alleging that inmates died after being denied basic medical care.

After her July 24 arrest, Swann-Deutsch’s medical condition was assessed in the emergency room at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. Staff there released her to officers for booking.

Test results showed her BAC at .303 and .317, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Kirk Rudeen said. The state’s legal limit to drive is .08. Under State Patrol policy, anyone who blows over a .25 must be examined at a hospital, Rudeen said.

Swann-Deutsch was pulled over about 1:30 p.m. along Highway 9 near Snohomish because her driving was “atrocious,” Rudeen said.

A State Patrol sergeant observed the woman’s 2008 Chrysler 300 sedan swerving across multiple lanes and pulled her over.

The sergeant noted that Swann-Deutsch was swaying as she walked, had slurred speech, smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. “Just real obvious impairment,” Rudeen said.

During the traffic stop, the woman tried to walk away from the sergeant and back to her car. The sergeant stopped her by grabbing her wrist, Rudeen said.

“There was no injuries to her,” he said. “It was just basically done to get her into handcuffs.”

She was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment. At the time, the woman had no obvious injuries and did not complain of any injuries, Rudeen said.

The State Patrol plans an internal review of the arrest because, under the agency’s policies, the sergeant grabbing the woman’s wrist counts as a use of force, Rudeen said.

Swann-Deutsch had no known serious criminal history.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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