Natural causes: Inmate death attributed to chronic alcoholism

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

By Scott Loftis

Complications of chronic alcoholism caused the death of an inmate who died in the Carroll County Detention Center on May 2, a state medical examiner has ruled.

Scot William McKnight, 56, was found unresponsive in his cell at approximately 6:14 p.m. on May 2, according to an investigative summary written by agent Joshua Arnold of the Arkansas State Police.

Jail staff administered CPR until emergency responders arrived. McKnight was transported to Mercy Hospital in Berryville, where he was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m.

McKnight had been booked into the jail on May 1 on charges of public intoxication and criminal trespass.

Arnold writes that McKnight was given a portable breath test during the booking process and it returned a result of 0.375. The legal limit in Arkansas is 0.08.

McKnight’s body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, where an autopsy was performed by chief medical examiner Dr. Charles Kokes.

In his report, Kokes writes that “the likely mechanism of death in this case was ethanol withdrawal seizures.”

“Individuals with chronic alcoholism, who suddenly stop alcohol consumption, are known to be at increased risk for development of withdrawal seizures,” Kokes writes. “In some instances, these can prove fatal.”

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