A Vermont man arrested on drug charges in Clarkstown has died as a result of injuries sustained when he tried to hang himself in a cell at the Rockland county jail in New City, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Nathan Patnode, 21, of Essex Junction, VT, died on Saturday after he was taken off life-support equipment, according to the Sheriff's Department. Patnode had been in Nyack Hospital in serious condition since his attempt on Wednesday to hang himself by using a torn bed sheet tied to the top of a bunk bed in his cell at the Rockland County Correctional Facility.
While in the hospital, Patnode was officially released from custody, which meant a corrections officer was not needed to guard him while in the hospital. Jail officials said Patnode did not regain consciousness while in the hospital.
Jail officials are still uncertain why Patnode tried to commit suicide while he was being held in a standard cell in the “B” wing of the jail. A corrections officer spotted that there was trouble Patnode's cell at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and rushed to his aid.
Chief William Clark, head of the Sheriff's Department's Corrections Division, said that while Patnode was in the jail he did not cause any problems or appear to be distraught until he was found unconscious in his cell.
Clark said a rookie corrections officer, with less than six months working in the jail, spotted that Patnode was in trouble and went to his aid, and a second corrections officer quickly joined in the effort to revive Patnode. Clark said the corrections officers performed CPR on Patnode in the jail before he was taken to Nyack Hospital.
Patnode and another Vermont man were stopped on the New York State Thruway in Clarkstown for traffic violations late on Saturday, Feb. 19 and later charged with possession of Ecstasy, Xanax, heroin and marijuana and a stolen laptop computer, according to State Police.
Patnode was also charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs.
Both men were arraigned before Clarkstown Judge Howard Gerber in Town Court in New City and they were ordered held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility. Patnode was being held on $100,000 bail, and Costello was ordered held without bail.
Clark said that when Patnode was brought to the jail he was screened by corrections officers who specifically look for signs that inmates might be at risk to injure themselves. Clark said there was no sign that Patnode was suicidal or should be put on special watch.
The Sheriff's Department said Patnode had problems with drug use, but did not appear to be connected to selling drugs.