Newport News inmate dies while on work release

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — An inmate who was on work release died Wednesday while operating a skid-steer loader, according to the Newport News Sheriff’s Office.

Public information officer Dottie Wikan said 53-year-old Melvin Stanback Jr. was found unconscious by a co-worker, who had left the work site to retrieve over-the-counter heartburn medication and a soft drink for Stanback.

911 was called immediately, according to the worker, and CPR was performed until medics arrived.

Stanback was taken to Sentara CarePlex in Hampton, where he died.

Wikan says it appeared that Stanback died of natural causes, but that the medical examiner will make the final determination.

The death is being investigated by both the Hampton Police Division and the Newport News Sheriff’s Office, who are conducting a death and internal investigation respectively.

Stanback was serving time on habitual offender and DUI convictions, and had been in the work release program since the end of June.

“We extend our condolences to Mr. Stanbeck’s family,” Wikan said.