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Roydell Kennedy (28) collapsed and died inside a police car
Published: Jul 21, 2012 @ 4:07 PM
Roydell Kennedy (28)
May 23, 2012
Cause of Death:
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A Wilmer man arrested by Prichard police yesterday collapsed inside a police car and later died, city officials said today.
Police identified the man as Roydell Oneal Kennedy, 28.
He was arrested after police chased him through the woods, and an officer later found him slumped over in the back of a police car after taking him to police headquarters.
Kennedy's girlfriend and a close friend expressed concern today about the severity of his injuries.
According to police, the incident began about 8 p.m. Wednesday while officers conducted a traffic checkpoint on Bear Fork Road.
Officers spotted a 1998 Honda Accord pull into a nearby church parking lot in an effort to avoid stopping at the checkpoint, according to police.
An officer saw Kennedy, who was the driver, throw a "small, white bottle" over a fence and run inside the church, according to the release.
The passenger, meanwhile, got out of the car and began walking away on Bear Fork Road.
An officer found Kennedy inside the church, God True Worshipers House of Prayer, and the officer ordered him to put his hands behind his back, police said. A pastor inside the church witnessed this, police said.
Kennedy instead ran out of the church as police chased him, according to the police's account.
He attempted to jump over a fence, but the fence fell down, police said. After hitting the ground, Kennedy got up and continued running into the woods.
Police spokeswoman Anita Havel said Kennedy fell down again while running, which is when police were able to handcuff him. At that point, she said, Kennedy did not resist arrest or have any physical fight with officers.
She said police did not use a Taser gun nor did police ever strike the man.
He was taken to Prichard police headquarters in a squad car, but when an officer opened the back door, Kennedy slumped over and fell out of the door, according to police.
He was taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center, and he died at 12:30 a.m. today.
Police later found the small bottle containing crack cocaine and 12 Lortab pills inside the driver's side door of the car, authorities said.
Brittany Jefferson said she and Kennedy lived together for seven years and have two children, ages 3 and 4.
She said she was called to the hospital after Kennedy had died. She said his injuries appeared to be severe and he had suffered internal bleeding. She said he had a large knot on his head and was covered in scratches.
"I'm trying to understand why he wasn't brought straight to the hospital instead of taking him downtown and book him," Jefferson said, crying.
Mitchell Pate, a close friend to Kennedy, said that they grew up together in the Wilmer area and played football at Mary G. Montgomery High School.
He said while Kennedy had some problems, "it shouldn't have resulted in this."
"I know that he has a kind heart," Pate said. "He was good to a lot of people."
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