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Arrested man dies after swallowing drugs, police say

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A man who had just been arrested following a brief pursuit in Orange County died Thursday, apparently as the result of illegal drugs he ingested during the incident, police said.
Gerard Justin Cowherd, 34, of Charlottesville was pronounced dead at Martha Jefferson Hospital.
According to a release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to make a traffic stop on a 2002 Chevrolet SUV at 4:49 p.m. Thursday on Black Level Road. It was not immediately clear what led to the attempted stop.
Police said the driver took off and headed south toward the Town of Gordonsville with the deputy in pursuit. The driver turned onto Gentry and Cadmus drives and then onto Baker Street before police got him stopped at the intersection of Baker and Linney streets.
During the pursuit, the deputy saw the driver throwing items out of his vehicle. He then resisted arrest as officers tried to get him out of the vehicle, police said.
About 20 minutes after the stop was made, the man was in the back of a police cruiser when he informed police that he had ingested illegal narcotics. Emergency medical personnel were called, and Cowherd was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
It was not clear what kind of drugs were involved. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

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