Saratoga County

Woman’s death in Saratoga Springs lockup called accidental

The death of a 38-year-old Schuylerville woman being held in the Saratoga Springs police lockup Marc

The death of a 38-year-old Schuylerville woman being held in the city police lockup March 18, 2010, has been ruled accidental by the state Commission of Correction.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department had arrived at the same conclusion earlier this year after its investigation into the death of Meredith Lickwola.

Lickwola was an unemployed, single mother of three children who had a history of crack cocaine addiction, the report said. She did not have custody of her two youngest children at the time of her death.

The state report said that Lickwola died from cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat) due to the combined effects of clonazepam, oxycodone, methadone, amitriptyline, nortriptyline and citalopram while in police custody. The state report recommends that “this case be closed as an accidental death.”

Lt. Gregory Veitch, a spokesman for city police, said the Commission of Correction reports confirms his department’s internal investigation into the death.

“There was no indication she was in distress,” he said about observations when she was in the city jail. “It was just a tragic and unfortunate incident.”

Lickwola was arrested on a warrant on the morning after St. Patrick’s Day. She was placed in the city lockup at 2:30 a.m. and was observed regularly by city police while in jail and appeared to be OK. After the last supervisory round at 5:47 a.m., however, police discovered Lickwola lying on her stomach and unresponsive.

The city Fire Department was called at 5:57 a.m. and emergency medical personnel said she was unconscious but breathing, the state report said. She was taken to Saratoga Hospital, where attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.

Earlier, a Saratoga County sheriff’s deputy had gone to her apartment after Lickwola told police that “Ben,” whom she described as a drug dealer, was inside her apartment when she arrived home. She later told police that the man stole $350 and prescription medication from her apartment.

The man was gone by the time the deputy arrived, but the deputy discovered Lickwola had an outstanding warrant lodged against her for failing to complete a 112-day sentence in the Saratoga County jail. She had been ordered to spend a series of weekends in the county jail and had missed at least one weekend.

The deputy took her into custody and contacted the Saratoga Springs Police Department and transferred custody to a city police officer who brought her to the city lockup in City Hall.

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