Woman dies after losing consciousness in Knoxville police car on its way to jail

A 60-year-old woman died Monday night at a local hospital after she lost consciousness Sunday morning in the back of a Knoxville Police Department cruiser while she was being taken to jail.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Leslie Earhart told Knox News late Tuesday the woman's name is Lisa Edwards.

Three officers and one transportation wagon driver have been placed on paid leave while Edwards' death is investigated, said KPD spokesperson Scott Erland in a written statement. Placing officers on leave while an in-custody death is investigated is routine.

KPD notified Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation, while the police department's internal affairs unit will review the case.

Officers had responded to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center around 7:40 a.m. Sunday, Erland said, after a caller told them Edwards was outside the emergency room and refusing to leave after she had been discharged from the hospital.

Edwards was placed in the back of a police cruiser to be taken to the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility to be booked on trespassing charges. Erland said Edwards was not handcuffed and no force was used while taking her into custody.

Police say the officer was en route to the detention facility when Edwards lost consciousness. An ambulance was called and Edwards was taken to a hospital.

Earhart, the TBI spokesperson, did not answer questions from Knox News about Edwards' cause of death, or additional details about the arrest.

Robert Bailey's death in custody

Edwards' death comes about a year after Robert Bailey's death in Knoxville police custody. At the time, his family members pressed the Knox County District Attorney General's Office for more transparency.

A Knoxville police officer said he pulled over Bailey, 41, at about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 6, 2022, because he had a broken taillight. He was arrested after police ran a criminal background check that showed he had two outstanding warrants. While still in a police vehicle at the intake facility, Bailey lost consciousness and was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

It took weeks of Bailey's family members calling for the full release of the available video evidence before the District Attorney's Office said Bailey died of a drug overdose after swallowing two plastic baggies while in the police vehicle.

Liz Kellar is a public safety reporter for Knox News. She can be reached by email at lkellar@knoxnews.com.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Woman dies after losing consciousness in Knoxville police car