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London man dies after found unresponsive in cell at EMDC

Razor wire fence lines the outside of the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, a maximum security prison on Exeter Road, in London on Oct. 18. Andrew Russell / Global News

A man from London, Ont., has died after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, the Ministry of the Solicitor General said on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) revealed it is investigating why the man, who was facing several charges after a recent car crash that injured two other people, was found unresponsive in his cell at the south London prison over the weekend.

As of Monday, the SIU said Brandon Marchant, 32, of London was in critical condition, citing a spokesperson for the London Health Sciences Centre.

On Wednesday, Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, confirmed that “an inmate from the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre passed away in hospital on July 6.”

Read more: Lawyer, loved ones frustrated by decision to remove memorial crosses outside of EMDC

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“Given this matter is the subject of an investigation, it would be inappropriate to provide further detail,” Ross said in an email to Global News.

Ross added that the death will be subject to multiple investigations, including one by the Office of the Chief Coroner.

The ministry will conduct an internal investigation to ensure its policies and procedures were followed “with respect to the care and custody of the deceased.” Local police may also investigate to determine if the death stemmed from criminal activity, according to Ross.

“Should the coroner determine that the death was anything other than natural causes, an inquest would be called. Should the death result from natural causes, an inquest would be at the discretion of the coroner,” Ross said.

Read more: 3 hurt, including driver who left on foot, after Highway 401 crash, SIU investigating, Oxford OPP

Last week Oxford Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said Marchant was allegedly involved in a car crash along Highway 401 near Ingersoll, Ont., on July 1, where three people were injured.

According to OPP, emergency services were called to a single-vehicle crash involving a stolen vehicle at roughly 4:30 p.m. and found a vehicle had left the roadway and hit a telephone pole.

Police say two passengers were ejected from the vehicle and taken to hospital, one by air ambulance with serious injuries.

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The driver, who police say was also injured, “fled the area on foot and was located nearby a short time later.”

Marchant, whom the London Free Press identified as a former MMA fighter, was charged with one count each of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, dangerous operation, failure to stop after an accident, driving while under suspension and use of an altered plate, as well as two counts of failing to comply with a probation order.

The SIU reports the driver was later transported to the hospital and found unresponsive in his cell by an EMDC correctional officer the following day.

Few details are known at this time. The SIU said the investigation is still ongoing.

The Special Investigations Unit is an arms-length agency that investigates reports of death, injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm involving police in Ontario.

—With files from Jacquelyn LeBel

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