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Two people died in two days amid rash of overdoses in Solano County Jail this year


  •   3 min reads
Two people died in two days amid rash of overdoses in Solano County Jail  this year
The Solano County Justice Center Detention facility in Fairfield. Photo: Scott Morris.

FAIRFIELD – Two people died in as many days in the main Solano County jail in March, according to records obtained by the Vallejo Sun.

The death of the two men makes for three known deaths in jails in the county so far this year, but the sheriff’s office did not disclose any of them until the Sun submitted a public records request for information.

According to accounts of the deaths detailed in those records, in each case the men were found unresponsive in their cells. Medical staff attempted to revive them, but they were pronounced dead a short time later. The Solano County Sheriff’s Office did not provide a cause of death for any of the three deaths.

According to two sources with knowledge of the jail, at least one of the recent deaths – of 40-year-old Daryl Pugh on March 26 – appears to have been one of a rash of opioid overdoses in the county’s jails. Pugh was one of at least six recent overdoses inside the jail, the sources said, but is the only one confirmed to have been fatal.

Three deaths in three months is an abnormally high number for Solano County jails, where, historically, there have been at most three deaths per year, according to data published by the state Department of Justice. The sheriff’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The first death this year was on Jan. 7 in the Stanton Correctional Facility, a 365-bed maximum security facility that opened in 2014. The man who died was identified as 64-year-old Richard Lee Brown, who was in custody on pending charges of arson and trespassing. He was charged in July and held on $75,000 bail, but court records indicate that he suffered from mental health issues.

Brown was found unresponsive in his cell just before 9 a.m., and paramedics pronounced him dead a short time later. The sheriff’s office declined to provide a cause of death.

Pugh died on March 26 in the Solano County Justice Center Detention Facility, the county’s 740-bed main jail. Pugh was in custody on charges of indecent exposure and petty theft, but his bail was revoked after he failed to show up for a court appearance, according to court records. The sheriff’s office said that Pugh was found unresponsive by an officer conducting a safety check at 9:43 p.m. He was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

The next day, 24-year-old Shiloh Davidson was found unresponsive in his cell at 2:33 p.m. and pronounced dead about 40 minutes later. Davidson was also being held in the main jail on $135,000 bail for charges of carjacking and kidnapping. His charges were filed only three days before he died.

Shiloh Davidson died in jail on March 27.

According to an obituary, Davidson grew up in Hollister and attended San Francisco State University and wanted to be a computer engineer.

Daryl Snedeker, a retired sheriff’s deputy running for sheriff on a platform of improved drug treatment and services in the jail, said that he has heard of several recent overdoses in the jail. He questioned how drugs were entering the facility and Sheriff Tom Ferrara’s lack of transparency in disclosing the deaths.

“It's getting in there and it's killing people,” Snedeker said. “The prevalence of the problem needs to absolutely be addressed and the community needs to be notified.”

Snedeker pointed to other counties that have run public awareness campaigns on the dangers of opioids like fentanyl, a particularly potent synthetic opioid, and said more should be done in Solano County to inform the community of the dangers of opioids, including in the jails.

“We're definitely not doing what's in the best interest of our citizens,” he said.

Editors note: This story has been updated to include details from Shiloh Davidson's obituary.

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