No clear cause of death found yet for man who died in police custody

An autopsy on a man who died in police custody Tuesday night found no cause of death that was immediately visible, Medford police reported today. Toxicology tests are pending.

Joseph Matthew Vavrosky, 42, collapsed and died late Tuesday as officers led him out of bushes along the Bear Creek Greenway near McAndrews Road, where he had hidden from police.

He had led Oregon State Police on a car chase before stopping the car and running from Interstate 5 into an area where Medford officers who had been monitoring the chase on police radios were waiting, officials said. When he saw them, he turned to run away. Officers tried to stun him with Tasers, but might not have hit him, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said earlier this week.

Vavrosky climbed the fence, dashed through freeway traffic and hid on the west side of I-5. Police found him there within minutes and took him into custody. He was walking with officers when he collapsed, police said.

An officer with emergency medical training started CPR immediately and Vavrosky was taken to Providence Medford Medical Center, where he died, police said.

Today's news release about the autopsy done Thursday by Dr. James Olson, a forensic pathologist, said toxicology results could take six to eight weeks.

Vavrosky's friends and family told police he was on a drug binge in the days before his death. He had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on a previous charge of possession of methamphetamine. He was also on parole for eluding police and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

— Anita Burke

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