Reports: Ex-Saint Glenn Foster died in custody following police chase, jail altercation

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New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster (74) greets fans after practice before an NFL preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Glenn Foster died on Monday at 31 years old. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster died in custody on Monday following a high-speed police chase, a car crash and an altercation in an Alabama jail, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. He was 31 years old.

The reported details emerged after Coroner Chad Harless confirmed Foster's death to reporters Tuesday afternoon. The results of Foster's autopsy remained pending as of Tuesday evening, and the cause of death was unclear. An investigation into his death is ongoing. The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation confirmed to the Times-Picayune that it was investigating the case as an "in-custody death." 

Father: Foster suffered from bipolar disorder

The Times-Picayune spoke with Reform, Alabama Police Chief Richard Black — who was involved in the police chase — as well as Foster's parents, Glenn Sr. and Sabrina, who called for "justice" in their son's death. Foster Sr. told the Times-Picayune that his son suffered from bipolar disorder. Both parents were concerned that Foster didn't receive necessary timely medical attention, per the report. 

Black said that officers saw Foster allegedly driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone in Reform, a town with a population of fewer than 2,000 residents. Police pursued Foster, and a chase in excess of 100 mph spilled into the neighboring town of Gordo, according to Black. 

Police laid out a spike strip to disable Foster's tires. He crashed, according to Black, and was eventually detained following a "small, minor tussle" and transported to the Pickens County Jail. Pickens County Sheriff's Office records show that Foster was detained on Saturday at 12:36 a.m. on three charges of reckless endangerment and one charge each of resisting arrest and attempt to elude.

Black said he accompanied Foster’s parents to the jail on Sunday with a $500 bail arrangement in place on the condition that Foster check into a hospital. However, the arrangement did not get that far.

Sheriff's office records show that two minutes after he was released on his initial charges on Sunday, Foster was rebooked on three counts of simple assault and one count of robbery in the third degree. Court records obtained by the Tuscaloosa News accuse Foster of striking an inmate “with the intent to prevent a sheriff’s deputy and correctional officer from performing a lawful duty.”

Foster remained detained. The Tuscaloosa News reports that Pickens County District Judge Samuel W. Junkin later denied Foster bail.

“(D)ue to information received from law enforcement regarding the defendant's behavior both during the arrest and while being held in the county jail, as well as this court's observation of the defendant's mental state during the attempted initial appearance, the court is of the opinion that the defendant is not mentally stable and a danger to himself and others,” Junkin said, per the News.

Investigation ongoing into cause of death

What happened between then and the time of Foster's death on Monday wasn't clear from records or reports. Pickens County Sheriff Todd Hall told the Tuscaloosa News that information regarding Foster's arrest and time in jail was turned over to state investigators. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Trooper Reginal King told the Tuscaloosa News that Foster was reported dead Monday at a medical facility in Northport, around 33 miles from the Pickens County Jail.

Both of Foster's parents told the Times-Picayune they want answers for their son's death. 

“We want justice for our son,” Foster Sr. said. “It’s unfair. It’s inhumane. It’s just not right.”

“I can’t get my son back, but we want whoever is responsible to pay for this," Sabrina Foster said.

Foster remained in New Orleans after football

Foster played two seasons for the New Orleans Saints from 2013-14 after playing college football at Illinois. He was born in Chicago and played football at Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School.

Illinois state Rep. Kim Buckner paid tribute to Foster Tuesday morning on Twitter in one of the first public acknowledgments that Foster had died.

The Saints and current and former New Orleans players also paid tribute on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Times-Picayune, Foster remained in New Orleans after his release by the Saints in 2015 and worked as a contractor, developer and real estate agent while running a granite countertop business with multiple storefronts in the city.

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