Walla Walla County Jail inmate dies

Tony Gillen was arrested on Christmas on investigation of drunken driving.


WALLA WALLA -- A Kennewick man arrested Christmas Day on investigation of driving under the influence died in the Walla Walla County Jail sometime before 7:20 a.m., Monday, officials said.

Tony Gillen, 58, was reportedly driving home Sunday night after visiting family in Walla Walla when city police stopped him at 7:29 p.m. in the 1200 block of North Clinton Street.

Gillen refused to take a breath test or participate in a field sobriety test, Officer Tim Bennett, police spokesman, said today. Gillen was arrested and lodged at the Walla Walla County Jail.

"He was showing obvious signs of impairment," Bennett said.

Gillen was discovered "unresponsive" in his cell Monday morning during a routine check.

"It appears it was natural causes or maybe a medical condition," Undersheriff Edward Freyer said Monday.

Freyer added Gillen received medical treatment as soon as he was found, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Freyer said today a toxicology report could take a week, and along with the autopsy conducted this morning by the Walla Walla County coroner, should establish a cause of death.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.


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