OFFICER'S COCAINE DEATH SHOCKS POLICE FORCE
MUSKOGEE -- Police officials are stunned that a veteran officer died
from pneumonia caused by cocaine use and vowed to find the person who
sold the drug to him. Stephen Wesley Caywood died from pneumonia
caused by the toxic effects of cocaine, according to an Oklahoma State
Medical Examiner's report.
Caywood, 45, was found dead in his bed by his wife on Jan. 2, Muskogee
Police Sgt. Michael Mahan said Tuesday.
"Gross evidence of pneumonia" was found during the autopsy, the report
states. Toxicology screening "reveals the presence of cocaine in blood
and brain as well as a significant level of its (cocaine's) primary
metabolite. The manner of death is accident," the report states.
"We're just absolutely devastated by this," Police Chief Rex Eskridge
said. "It's just something that caught us totally off guard."
Caywood, a 17-year Muskogee Police veteran, was a graduate of the FBI
National Academy and the FBI Hostage Negotiation and Hostage Rescue
Eskridge said Caywood, who had just been promoted to major in
December, had been under a lot of stress just before his death.
"The promotion was stressful for him," Eskridge said. "I think there
were family issues. He'd been on nights so long."
Eskridge said the department may consider periodically re-evaluating
police officers, their stress-related issues, and drug or alcohol problems.
He said if Caywood did die of a drug abuse problem, an investigation
"We want the public to know this has had a strong impact on our
department," Eskridge said. "We want whoever got him that stuff to
know that. We're going to find out where he got that stuff from."
Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, also was found in the blood in his
heart, according to the report.
Eskridge said besides periodically re-evaluating police officers,
officials also will look at police policies.
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