Thursday, July 19, 2018 Medina 58°

Local Medina County News

3 men overdose at county jail

  • Gempel-Mark-William-jpg

    Mark William Gempel


  • Pearce-Justin-jpg

    Justin Pearce


  • Tanner-Daniel-jpg

    Daniel Tanner



Charges are pending against three individuals who overdosed at the Medina County Jail while in custody Friday afternoon.

Capt. Ken Baca of the Medina County Sheriff’s Office said Monday one of the men had a “controlled substance” in a bag or vial in a body cavity. He said the man told the other inmates that he had “high-potent heroin” and needed to get rid of it before he underwent the booking process at the jail.

He said the men were sharing a holding cell because of the jail’s population at the time.

The booking intake area was pretty full,” Baca said. “It was a busy day for us.”

The three men who overdosed, he said, were:

  • Mark William Gempel, 48, of Kent.
  • Daniel Tanner, 31, of Lodi.
  • Justin Pearce, 27, of Northfield.

When a correction officer checked on the inmates about 3:45 p.m., Tanner and Pearce were lying on the floor and appeared to be in respiratory distress, Baca said. Gempel also appeared to be incapacitated, he added.

Officers administered four doses of the opiate antidote naloxone among the three before they were transported to Medina Hospital, Baca said.

Baca said he could not disclose which man had the substance in his possession because of pending charges.

He also said he could not confirm what the “controlled substance” was because laboratory results are pending.

“The specifics of the lab results are relevant to the charges,” Baca said. “Once (the investigation) is done, (the case) will be pursued to the county prosecutor.”

Tanner was arrested Friday for a parole violation stemming from a 2014 incident in which he was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony.

He has been released from the hospital and is being held at the jail.

Gempel was arrested on a warrant stemming from a 2014 attempted theft charge out of Wadsworth Municipal Court. He is being held at the jail on $25,000 bond for a parole violation.

Pearce was transported Friday from the Lorain Correctional Institution to the Medina County Jail prior to a sentencing hearing in Medina County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

He was sentenced to a year in prison for illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for manufacturing of drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony, stemming from an April 5 incident.

One other inmate also was in the their cell but did not use the drug, Baca said.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or

Click to view comments
To Top

Fetching stories…