Douglas County inmate who died was loved, struggled with personal demons

Bradley Poverud was being held at Douglas County Jail in Superior on identity theft charges when he had an unknown medical emergency early Saturday morning.

Bradley Poverud (left) and Meaghan Fleischer pose for a photo with their dog Sani Bear. Poverud died Saturday morning of unknown causes after being rushed to the hospital from Douglas County Jail in Superior where he was being held. (Photo courtesy of Meaghan Fleischer)

Bradley Poverud was a son, a father and a fiancé. He struggled with drug addiction but was on his way to getting clean when he died early Saturday morning.

Poverud, of Superior, was 33 years old. He was being held at Douglas County Jail in Superior on identity theft charges when he had an unknown medical emergency. He was rushed to St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth, where he was pronounced dead at 6:40 a.m.

Poverud’s fiancee, Meaghan Fleischer, also of Superior, said the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to their home to notify her.

“We'd been having financial issues with our home so I thought he was here to evict us,” Fleischer said.

Unfortunately, Fleischer received even worse news. According to Fleischer, the deputy told her that Poverud had been coughing up blood and they called for an ambulance immediately. Fleischer said she had talked to Poverud the night before to see how he was doing with his withdrawal.


“I keep thinking about that because he said he was feeling great and was super-excited the withdrawals were finally done,” she said. “He died sober.”

Fleischer and Poverud got engaged this summer and planned to get married at the courthouse once he was released. She said Poverud was an amazing, warm-hearted and kind friend and fiancé. He always put others first and sometimes forgot to take care of himself, she said.

“He was always there for you. Even if you called him at 3 a.m., he’d be there,” Fleischer said.

Regarding Poverud’s criminal record, Fleischer said “everyone has a story.”

“We all have demons that we try to mask and his way of coping with his pain and suffering was, unfortunately, getting into trouble and battling with drugs and addiction,” she said, adding that Poverud’s mother and sister died when he was younger.

Fleischer said he was sincere about getting clean now and obtaining help for his addiction once he was out of jail.

“He told me he was sick of living like this, and he just wanted to live a normal life,” Fleischer said.

Poverud is survived by his father, stepmother, brother and three young daughters. Fleischer is working on changing her last name to honor Poverud.


“I’m going to live every day making sure he is never forgotten,” Fleischer said. “I’m going to make sure to try and live the life he always wanted and always dreamed of having.”

According to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka, Minnesota, the cause and manner of death are pending. The death remains under investigation by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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