REFORM, Ala. — Alabama authorities are investigating after former NFL player Glenn Foster Jr. died in custody following a high-speed chase that resulted in his arrest and then a fight involving officers in the county jail where he was being held.
The 31-year-old former New Orleans Saints player died Monday at a medical facility in Northport, Alabama, Senior Alabama Trooper Reginal King told The Tuscaloosa News.
While being handcuffed, Foster fought against a Pickens County deputy and a correctional officer, injuring the deputy’s nose and hand, according to court records obtained by The Associated Press.
Foster had an initial court appearance before Pickens County District Judge Samuel Junkin, where he was “non-compliant and refused to respond to answer any questions” aside from demanding an attorney, the judge wrote.
Based on police observations and how Foster behaved, the judge said Foster was “not mentally stable and a danger to himself and others” and ordered him held without bond for a mental evaluation.
But what happened from that time until his death was a mystery. Few other details have been released.
Foster’s relatives say they fear officials delayed potentially life-saving care for him, despite knowing he’d been in the jail fight and might have been experiencing a mental health crisis, they told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. “I can’t get my son back, but we want whoever is responsible to pay for this,” his mother, Sabrina Foster, told the news organization.
Foster had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was about 20 but had mostly been able to manage the illness before the arrest, Foster’s father, Glenn Foster Sr., told the news outlet. The arrest happened as his son was driving to Atlanta on business, his father said.
Foster had been arrested Sunday afternoon in the small town of Reform, Alabama, on charges of reckless endangerment and resisting arrest by “attempt to elude,” jail records show.
Foster was driving at speeds of up to 90 mph, and led officers on a chase along a state highway that crossed into the nearby town of Gordo, whose officers joined the chase, Reform Police Chief Richard Black told the New Orleans news site. Officers used a “spike strip” to flatten all four of his tires and slow the car, but he crashed into a business, Black said.
He engaged in what Black described as a “small, minor tussle” with officers, but no one appeared to get hurt, Black said. He was then handcuffed and driven to the Pickens County Jail.
He was booked into jail on charges of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and attempting to elude police, jail records show.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement it was investigating at the request of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. No cause of death was released and Foster’s body was released to the Department of Forensic Science.
Originally from Chicago, Foster has been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He played two seasons for the Saints at defensive end, appearing in 17 games in 2013 and 2014.
Court records do not include the name of any attorney who might have represented Foster.