A Unity man died in a Bangor hospital on Thursday after attempting to kill himself at Somerset County Jail.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

David Smith, 51, was found alive at the jail after the suicide attempt, but died later at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

“This is a very sad and unfortunate situation,” Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said. “There is a different agency reviewing our actions in this particular case, but I want to commend the corrections officers that were working that day. They did everything humanly possible to help.”

Lancaster said that on Thursday, when the incident happened, a nursing staff was at the jail.

Smith was arrested in Waldo County on April 29 and charged with domestic violence assault, assault, terrorizing, criminal mischief and two counts of violating conditions of release and refusing to submit to arrest.

Waldo County houses inmates at Somerset County Jail in Madison.


The Bangor Daily News reported that Smith was arrested after he was involved in a disturbance and assaulted his girlfriend and a neighbor.

The Maine Department of Corrections and the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit are investigating the death, Lancaster said. Because the investigation is ongoing, he was unable to provide any additional information on the incident.

Lancaster said that since becoming sheriff of Somerset County, he has helped implement a “very comprehensive critical debriefing program.”

“It does take a toll on the officers,” Lancaster said. “Our Chaplain, Kevin Brooks, has been to a myriad of trainings and oversees our critical incident debriefing teams.”

When officers handle stressful or traumatic situations, they are given resources to help them debrief, he said. If an officer needs additional assistance, Lancaster said that it can easily be provided.

Somerset County Jail is one of two jails in the state that are certified through the American Correctional Association, which works to improve operations through adherence to safety, security, inmate care, programs, justice and administration, the sheriff said.

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