An RCMP constable says he wishes he had insisted that a Brabant Lake man stay at the hospital, instead of taking him away for a night in the La Ronge drunk tank.
Cst. Wayne Wagner's recorded testimony was played for the jury at a coroner's inquest into the death of Walter Clinton McKenzie, who died of a brain hemorrhage after being found unconscious in his police cell in September 2010.
Wagner said when he arrived at the La Ronge Health Centre, McKenzie was passed out in a short stay bed, after wandering out of the ER on his own, and the nurses on duty wanted McKenzie to leave.
After seeing that McKenzie could barely stand, never mind walk, Wagner thought McKenzie might be better off at the hospital, but figured he must be medically fit to go -- a conclusion he now regrets.
All the cops and the jail guard thought when they heard "terrible loud" snoring was that Walter Clinton McKenzie was sleeping off a day of drinking.
Corporal Mark Paddock and Constable Brian Moorehead were getting prisoners ready for court the morning of September 7, 2010, while Lu Watt was at the guard station and McKenzie was in the drunk tank.
Watt did wonder at the volume of McKenzie's snoring, and checked at his door when she came on shift, but she saw nothing that would make her suspect he was seriously ill.
Moorehead nudged him and called his name, but the snoring gave him confidence that he could do the morning in court and release McKenzie at noon.
By then, however, McKenzie was in trouble -- and less than a day later, he was dead.
The coroner's inquest into McKenzie's death resumes tomorrow morning.