Trevyn Smith, Weber State’s career football rushing leader who died on Independence Day, spent his last three days alive in the Salt Lake County Jail.
Police arrested Smith July 1 in downtown Salt Lake City on warrants and he was taken to the jail, where he “suffered a medical incident” July 4 and was transported to a hospital, according to a Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“It is under investigation at this time and we can’t comment on an active investigation,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Hunter said Wednesday.
The jail, per policy, is doing an internal investigation of the incident. South Salt Lake police also are investigating the death, Hunter said.
Smith’s wife Erica told the Standard-Examiner in other reports that Smith suffered a stroke and heart attack in June 2017, and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Utah’s county jails have been under heavy scrutiny the past few years after higher numbers of deaths occurred behind bars, including 27 statewide in 2016.
The state launched an oversight program in 2018, requiring counties to submit annual reports on jail deaths and causes. Lawmakers also ordered a focus on treatment of jail inmates suffering drug addictions.
Half a dozen deaths since 2016 have resulted in wrongful death civil suits against jails, alleging insufficient medical care and monitoring of inmates.
Hunter said Utah Highway Patrol troopers assigned to Operation Rio Grande arrested Smith, 32, on outstanding warrants.
The former football star was booked into the jail on warrants to appear in court on charges of use of possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failure to stay on one lane and driving on a denied license, Hunter said.
A UHP report of the July 1 arrest said two troopers saw Smith “standing in the roadway zoning out.”
UHP Sgt. Nick Street said Wednesday the troopers approached Smith and checked his identity, finding a misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear in court.
Street said Smith had been staying at the Road Home shelter at the time of his arrest.
Since 2017, UHP troopers have been assigned to patrol the area of the shelter, where drug use and other crime had escalated as downtown homelessness grew.
Court records show Sandy police arrested Smith on April 7 after they found him asleep in the passenger seat of a car with its windshield broken out. A police probable cause statement said officers reportedly found Smith had syringes and a container of methamphetamine.
In connection with that arrest, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office on June 5 charged Smith with class A misdemeanor possession or use of a controlled substance and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Smith’s death became known on July 5 after his former Weber State coach tweeted his condolences to the family.
“Trevyn was one of my favorite people. He will be deeply missed,” coach Matt Hammer said in his tweet. Since that time, community members from Weber State and Springville, where Smith grew up, have shared their memories of him.
Smith’s funeral services will be held at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, July 13, in the gymnasium at Springville High. Family and friends can visit from 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 12, and again from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday prior to the services.
Jacob Scholl and Brett Hein contributed to this report.