The Western Virginia Regional Jail reports a 54-year-old inmate collapsed in his cell Saturday, went into cardiac arrest, and was later pronounced dead at Lewis-Gale Medical Center. Jail officials say an autopsy concludes Benjamin Powers died of natural causes.

From Western Virginia Regional Jail: Region July 24, 2017 (Roanoke County, VA) During the evening of July 22, 2017, Inmate Benjamin Lee Powers (White Male, age 54), while interacting with correctional officers who were preparing him to be examined by medical staff, collapsed in his cell at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. An emergency response was initiated by jail medical and security personnel to Inmate Powers’ location. 911 was simultaneously activated and Roanoke County Fire-EMS personnel responded to the jail. At the onset of the emergency, Inmate Powers had a pulse and was breathing, but was unconscious. He then went into cardiac arrest and was administered CPR
and an Automated Electronic Defibrillator was utilized. Inmate Powers was transported to the Lewis Gale Medical Center in Salem by Roanoke County Fire-EMS. He was pronounced deceased at 9:32 P.M. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke has performed an autopsy and rendered a preliminary finding that Inmate Powers died of natural causes, and all indications show medical staff responded appropriately to his medical concerns prior to and during the emergency. Inmate Powers was booked into jail on July 6, 2017 and was held for Roanoke County on the pre-trial charges of Felony Credit Card Theft and Felony Larceny-Third or Subsequent Offense, all of which carried a $2,500 bond. Upon commitment, Inmate Powers did not report any physical health concerns, nor that he required any medical treatment. If you have any further questions, please contact Deputy Superintendent David F. Cox.