A Norton Correctional Facility Central Unit offender, Jeremy J. Palmer, died on Monday, September 16. Palmer, age 46, was transported by ambulance to the Norton County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:37 p.m.
The cause of death is pending an autopsy.
Per protocol when an offender dies in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections, the death is under investigation by the KDOC and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Palmer was serving an eight-year sentence for previous convictions in Barton, Ford and Thomas counties. In 2013, he was found guilty in Thomas County of possession of heroin and methamphetamine, with intent to distribute. In Barton and Ford counties in 2016, he was found guilty of distribution of opiates, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer and was charged with interference of law enforcement.
The Norton Correctional Facility houses low-medium and minimum-custody male offenders and has a population of 970.
A Great Bend Tribune story reported on his Barton County arrest. On March 25, 2016, Officer Michael Bradley from the Great Bend Police Department conducted a traffic stop in the 1900 block of Odell Street and during the stop the driver, later identified as Palmer, lied about his identity. While the officer investigated the situation, Palmer put the vehicle into gear and sped away.
Due to the fact that Palmer was driving very hazardously and putting nearby citizens in danger, officers discontinued the pursuit.
They chose to track him from a distance, and took him into custody shortly thereafter when he abandoned his vehicle and tried to leave the area on foot.
“Palmer, it turns out, was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Thomas County, for which he will likely serve many years in jail,” Chief of Police Clifton Couch said in 2016.
He was also in possession of drugs during the traffic stop.