C.O. applicant for Hudson jail dies after being unable to provide urine sample

A 32-year-old Hudson County Corrections applicant was hospitalized and eventually died after being unable to perform a drug screening test.

Hudson County Corrections & Rehabilitation Center (PHOTO: Hudson County)

An aspiring law enforcement officer tragically passed away days after being unable to provide a urine sample, according to sources and emails obtained by Real Garden State.

On December 13, 2020, a 32-year-old Jersey City resident reported to the Juneau Center in Kearny, NJ, to apply for a C.O. position with the Hudson County Corrections and Rehabilitation Center (HCC). As part of the process, the applicant would have to comply with the drug screening portion – which meant providing a urine sample.

According to an email obtained by Real Garden State, HCC Director Ron Edwards stated that the applicant arrived for his scheduled appointment at 3 PM that day, but “was unable to produce a urine sample.” Additionally, Edwards wrote:

As per the NJAG directive, he was allotted ample time (three hours) to supply a sample. At approx. 1800 [applicant] came out of the restroom and said he wasn’t feeling well and he was dizzy. Erica Patterson (Person in Charge) did not want him to drive his vehicle. [applicant] asked if his girlfriend could drive him home. Erica did not want him to leave until he was accessed by an EMT because of his statement. EMTs and [applicant]’s girlfriend arrived at Juneau, the EMTs transported [applicant] to [Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC)].

Three days later, on December 16, 2020, the applicant died at JCMC for non-COVID related reasons, according to Edwards. Of note, Edwards did not notify Hudson County Administrator Abraham Antun by email until 6:48 PM on December 17, 2020.

According to sources that notified Real Garden State prior to Edwards email, the applicant was given “a lot of water” by officials in an effort to help him perform the test. Per Scientific American, people can and do drink themselves to death with water, most notably:

A 28-year-old California woman died after competing in a radio station’s on-air water-drinking contest. After downing some six liters of water in three hours in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” (Nintendo game console) contest, Jennifer Strange vomited, went home with a splitting headache, and died from so-called water intoxication.

However, one county source tells Real Garden State that Edwards denies “water intoxication” caused the applicant’s death, and that the applicant had other health issues. Hudson County spokesperson James Kennelly declined to comment on this story.

UPDATE: Family members of the deceased applicant objected to this article, including the statement of Edwards made in the email obtained by Real Garden State. However, nothing has been specifically disputed and no other information has been provided by those objecting. Nevertheless, this article has been updated to remove the deceased applicant’s name.

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