Dr. Vincent K. Jones, an internist who was the subject of a federal investigation into distribution of opioids, was found unresponsive on Sept. 23 at a property on Ruths Creek Road in the Carver area.
He died the next day.
Federal search warrants issued in July had alleged Jones and others were using his Community Family Care in Collinsville to distribute controlled substances (namely oxycodone and hydrocodone-acetaminophen and possibly others) and to commit health care fraud and wire fraud in violation of federal law. Anita Sowers, task force officer with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration’s Roanoke Tactical Diversion Squad, filed the applications for those warrants.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Martinsville Bulletin obtained from the Martinsville-Henry County 911 Emergency Communications Center a computer-aided dispatch log and two audio files of calls on Sept. 23 regarding Ruths Creek Road. J.R. Powell, 911 director, provided additional explanation in an interview Thursday.
A neighbor of Jones' at his home at 1308 Cardinal Lane in Martinsville, had said she last saw Jones leave about 8:30 that morning. She said that at about 8:55 she saw several vehicles pull up and park on Cardinal Lane.
She estimated she saw six officers, including “two ladies. One of them was in uniform, and one of them was in plainclothes."
She said she didn’t know which law enforcement agency the “ladies” were from, “but the ones who parked right here in front of my house were city police.” She said the officers from the agency she didn’t know knocked on the front and side doors of Jones’ home and also went around the back of the home. All the officers eventually left, she said.
According to a 911 tape that started at about 11:26 a.m. that morning, a woman, whom Powell later identified as Sowers, asks for help in finding a property on Ruths Creek Road, as well as some other background information about the property and area.
This is in the general area on Ruths Creek Road of properties that Dr. Jones previously or currently owned.
Sowers told the dispatcher not to say anything about the call on the radio.
Powell said he did not know why law enforcement was in that area or why Sowers wanted to keep the call quiet.
The second 911 tape deals with law enforcement officers and rescue and emergency medical personnel going to the scene. It’s unclear from the tape the exact location on Ruths Creek Road. Two different addresses are mentioned on the tape, and Powell said he wasn’t sure the precise address.
The 911 CAD log indicates that a Martinsville Police Department police cruiser arrived in the area at 11:29 a.m., two MPD police cruisers arrived at 12:15 p.m., and an MPD K9 unit arrived at 12:15.
At 12:43 p.m., an officer asked for a rescue call for an unresponsive subject, Powell said. The call does not specify if Jones was indoors or outdoors.
At one point, the dispatcher asks a law enforcement officer, “Is subject breathing or are y’all doing CPR,” according to a 911 tape.
“Breathing shallow …” was the response.
The dispatcher then said on the 911 tape: “Also be advised, the subject is breathing. The breaths appear shallow.”
According to the 911 log, the dispatcher made a note, “Per M220 [referring to a Martinsville police officer] diabetic/heart rate is low.”
The Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad was en route at 12:44 p.m., arrived at 12:53 p.m. and informed 911 at 12:55 p.m. they were doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“I assume the patient was not breathing enough to sustain life,” Powell said.
At about 1:07 p.m., Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad requested to see if a helicopter was available, Powell said.
Henry County Public Safety personnel arrived at 1:10 and 1:11 p.m., according to the 911 log.
According to Powell, 911 records indicate that two air ambulance helicopters based at Blue Ridge Regional Airport were unavailable, and a helicopter in Roanoke was contacted. It would be 20 to 30 minutes before the helicopter could arrive, so arrangements were made for that helicopter to come to the landing zone at Sovah Health-Martinsville.
At 1:31 p.m. while en route to the hospital, Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad notified 911 that the patient [Jones] was “code blue” again, and they started doing CPR on him again, Powell said.
The 911 log indicates Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad arrived at the hospital at 1:36 p.m.
Both Powell and Henry County Public Safety Director Matt Tatum said their agencies’ records do not indicate what happened to the patient after being taken to the hospital. They said they didn’t know if Jones was admitted to the hospital or flown by helicopter somewhere else.
A spokesperson for the hospital has declined to comment.
Tracie Cooper, district administrator for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke, has said that Jones died Sept. 24. She said the cause and manner of death remain unknown, and that the determination could take weeks.
Cooper was unavailable Thursday afternoon. A representative for that office said the cause and manner of death are still pending.