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Jailer dies during CPR exercise

Thomas Carroll, a Goodhue County Adult Detention Center employee, collapsed with an apparent heart attack.

All the right pieces appeared to be in place Tuesday when Thomas Carroll collapsed with a heart attack.

The Goodhue County Adult Detention Center employee was receiving CPR training at the jail in Red Wing along with fellow jailers.

"Everybody was there, the equipment was there," Goodhue County Sheriff Dean Albers said, adding that training took place just feet away from the county's 911 dispatch center.

In terms of safety access and medical assistance, it was the best place the 51-year-old Carroll could have been, "other than being in the emergency room," Albers said.

Despite the surroundings and immediate attention, Carroll died from the apparent heart attack. Albers said staff had attempted to resuscitate him before paramedics transported him to Fairview Red Wing Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

"They did a very valiant effort," Albers said of the jail staff by Carroll's side at the training exercise. "But it was not meant to be."

Albers said Carroll, a detention deputy since 2000, "left an indelible impression" on those who knew him.

Carroll served as union steward, a position that called for him to attend negotiation sessions with Albers and management. That can lead to an adversarial relationship, Albers said, but "it was never that way with Tom."

Albers said Carroll, a former Navy SEAL, had a playful personality and played the part of Santa Claus at Christmas parties.

"Next Christmas is going to be sad for a lot of kids," Albers said.

Tuesday's incident at the ADC affected staff, who Albers described as members of a tight community. Still, Albers said some have been questioning themselves, even after he and others were assured by paramedics that Carroll's coworkers staged a courageous effort to save his life.

"It's tough to see their faces," Albers said.

Funeral arrangement are pending at Mahn Family Funeral Home-Bodelson Mahn Chapel.