Surveillance footage providing clues to in-custody death

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BETHANY, Okla. – A disturbance call ended with a man dying on a stranger’s front lawn. Bethany police say the man appeared to be on drugs and his body went limp during his arrest.

A quiet Monday night was quickly interrupted when a stranger covered in blood arrived on Lindsey Townsend’s driveway.

The man was screaming and banging on cars.

“He was hallucinating,” Lindsey Townsend said.

Townsend’s roommate walked over to help when that man, Jason Yahola, started swinging.

“He tried to grab me,” the 911 caller said. “I don’t know what he is on but he is on something strong.”

Police say at one point, Yahola took a nose-dive into the concrete.

His bleeding body stumbled back into Townsend’s front yard while flailing his arms and limbs.

“They believe that he was having a reaction to drugs,” Lt. Angelo Orefice, from the Bethany Police Department, said.

Officers arrived and immediately put Yahola in handcuffs.

“They didn’t even ask him, ‘hey, what is your name or are you ok?’” Townsend said. “They just got on top of him.”

Officials with the Bethany Police Department say that’s protocol.

“It’s for the suspect’s safety and the officer’s,” Lt. Orefice said.

At that point, Yahola’s body went limp. Officers gave him Narcan and performed CPR.

Eight minutes later, an ambulance arrived on the scene and a crowd of first responders tried to bring Yahola back to life.

15 minutes passed before he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“We don’t know at this point if he had signs of life in that front yard or not,” Lt. Orefice said.

News 4 is still waiting on Yahola’s toxicology report. An initial medical examiner report shows there was no fatal trauma on the outside of Yahola’s body.

The initial responding officer is back on the job.

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