Two inmates who were found unresponsive in their cells at the Fayette County jail in April died of a mixture of prescription drugs and alcohol abuse, and natural causes, according to the Fayette County coroner. Reports obtained by the Herald-Leader through an open records request listed the cause of death for Steven Wayne Lieras as an "acute combination of toxic effects of diazepam, gabapentin and ethanol in the setting of hypertensive heart disease." A toxicology report found traces of prescription drugs and alcohol in his bloodstream. His death was ruled an accident.
Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and other medical conditions. Gabapentin is used to treat seizures and restless leg syndrome.
Corrections officers found Lieras, 46, unresponsive in his cell April 14 about 4 a.m. They called an ambulance while trying to resuscitate him. He died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
Lieras had been jailed on an intoxication charge. He also was wanted for failing to make a court appearance.
Obesity and chronic alcohol abuse might have contributed to Lieras' death, the report said.
Lieras was the first of two Fayette jail inmates who died just days apart last spring.
Otha Buchanan died after being found in medical distress in his cell April 17. According to the coroner's reports, Buchanan, 63, died of natural causes, specifically cardiac dysrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat.
Diabetes and drugs also could have been factors in Buchanan's death. Toxicology tests found cocaine in his urine.
Buchanan was arrested April 14 on charges of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, and on minor traffic offenses.
After Lieras and Buchanan died, city officials said their deaths did not appear to be suspicious.