Inmate refused seizure medication hours before his death

Leslie Fark

Peoria County Jail records indicate the inmate who died Friday in his cell refused to take medication for a seizure disorder just hours before his death.

Johnny D. Grayson, 38, was pronounced dead about 10:40 p.m. in the emergency room at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center after being found unresponsive in his cell about 50 minutes earlier.

"He was checked five minutes before they found him," Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy said Monday. "He was responsive, alert and OK. On the way back through (cell checks) they found him."

Grayson, who on Aug. 15 started serving a 90-day sentence for driving with a revoked license and leaving the scene of an accident, was alone in his cell at the time, said Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.

"He had been in a holding cell where 15-minute checks are done," she said.

Known to have a history of seizure disorder and frequent seizures, Grayson was prescribed medication for his health problem, said Ingersoll, adding, "The hours prior to the death, records indicate he refused his medication."

Records showed jail personnel attempted to give Grayson two seizure medications, carbamazepine and valproate, at 6:35 and 8:35 p.m. Both times he refused to take them, Ingersoll said.

An autopsy performed Saturday could not pinpoint Grayson's cause of death and toxicology testing has been ordered. It could take several weeks for those results to become available.

After the investigation is concluded, all information regarding the case will be sent to the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office for review.

"We're confident we did everything we could," said Peoria County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Joe Needham.

Leslie Fark can be reached at (309) 686-3188