A New Kensington, Pennsylvania, man being pursued by police died Saturday after he was seen swallowing a plastic bag suspected of containing illegal drugs. Curtis Patterson, 40, becomes the 41st person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
Authorities told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Patterson had been pursued by police from various departments earlier in the evening and when he was finally stopped, police witnessed him swallowing the plastic bag. The contents of the baggie have yet to undergo lab analysis, but police say they suspect it is illegal drugs.
The Allegheny County medical examiner said the baggie obstructed Patterson's trachea, and he died of asphyxiation at 3:05am. The death is being ruled accidental.
The last six drug war deaths this year include two others who died after swallowing drugs, two who drowned trying to flee drug busts, and one man who stepped in front of a speeding semi-truck during a roadside drug bust.