An man arrested early Wednesday morning on drug charges committed suicide a few hours later at the Ward County Jail in Minot.
Durwin WhiteLightning, 52, was found hanging in his cell shortly before 6 a.m. during a routine cell check, according to Ward County Sheriff Vern Erck.
"He was just lying on his bunk when he was checked around 5 (a.m.)," Erck said. "There didn't seem to be anything wrong."
Jail personnel called 9-1-1 at 5:58 a.m. to report the inmate had been found hanging. CPR was started, continuing until ambulance and rescue personnel arrived two minutes later.
Erck said WhiteLightning used the sheet from his bunk to carry out the suicide.
WhiteLightning's death is believed to be the first successful suicide attempt at the jail in more than three years. Erck, who was traveling when contacted by The Minot Daily News, said although he would need to review the jail records, he believed it to be the first suicide since 50-year-old David Lee Haas died after ramming his head repeatedly against a cell wall.
WhiteLightning was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia after Northwest Narcotics Task Force units enlisted the aid of the Minot Police Department's K-9 unit to search at the Amtrak depot in Minot. WhiteLightning was transported to the Ward County Jail at around 2:15 a.m., and jail commander Penny Erickson said in a press release that WhiteLightning was booked into the jail at 2:24 a.m.
WhiteLightning was active in several peace, freedom and human rights movements, and is referred to as a veteran of the U.S. military, according to information found by a simple Internet search. Jail records show he gave both Cannonball, N.D., and Eugene, Ore., as his addresses.