‘He collapsed, started shaking’: Authorities investigate man’s death while in custody

Virginia State Police and the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death of a...
Virginia State Police and the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death of a man who collapsed while in custody.(400tmax via canva)
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 7:08 PM PDT
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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ/Gray News) - Authorities in Virginia are investigating a man’s death while in police custody.

WDBJ reports Virginia State Police and the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office are leading the investigation where 49-year-old John Brown collapsed and died during a traffic stop on June 24.

The sheriff’s office reports deputies were called to the community of Ivanhoe about a possible drunken driver. Deputies stopped a vehicle headed the wrong way with Nickie L. Vaughan, 47, behind the wheel and Brown, a passenger in the car.

A deputy reported he noticed Vaughn’s uncontrollable movements when first speaking to her and a strong odor of alcohol from the vehicle. He asked her to step out of the car to conduct a field sobriety test, and that’s when he saw a bag with what looked to be methamphetamine inside.

Vaughan was then detained.

The sheriff’s office reports Brown was asked to step out of the vehicle for a search. Deputies said he appeared to have been drinking, and the 49-year-old was arrested for public intoxication.

Brown was put in the back of a patrol car, and deputies said they heard him kicking the door while telling them he was suffocating.

Authorities said the deputies took Brown out of the car and stood him up on his feet when he collapsed and started shaking.

Deputies reported they called paramedics, thinking he was having a seizure. Brown stopped breathing, and deputies conducted CPR. Paramedics administered Narcan, but authorities said Brown was declared dead.

Deputies said Vaughan told them there was methamphetamine in the car, and she suspected Brown had swallowed it so he would not get caught with it.

According to the sheriff’s office, body camera footage will be reviewed from the incident, and an autopsy will also be conducted to determine Brown’s cause of death.

Authorities said Vaughan was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, possessing a narcotic, refusing a blood or breath test and reckless driving.

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