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Investigation into death at southside car wash

Posted at 9:55 PM, Nov 24, 2015

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The Pima County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of a man at a southside car wash.

Deputies say it happened at the 2600 block of West Valencia Road around 12:05 a.m. A San Xavier District deputy was getting his car washed when he noticed a man slumped over the steering wheel of his car. The deputy noticed the man was in medical distress, and called paramedics. The Drexel Heights Fire Department responded.

The man has been identified as 34-year-old Jose Hernandez. Medics were able to treat him and he could communicate. As he was being treated, deputies say Hernandez became aggressive and ran away.

Sheriff's deputies then pursued him before he could reach the road. Sheriff Chris Nanos says they apprehended him, handcuffed him and secured his feet together. 

When deputies brought Hernandez back to the patrol car, he collapsed. Hernandez was transported to St. Mary's hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Nanos says he believes deputies used the right amount of force when apprehending Hernandez, and they do not know the exact cause of death.

"Was this an overdose? Was it a medical issue from some existing heart problems? Or did the deputies in there take down cause significant injuries that caused death?" Nanos said. "I don't believe that's the case, but we'll let the medical examiners case decide that."

Nanos says the medical examiner's office should have autopsy results tomorrow.