Kelly Coltrain told her jailers she was dependent on drugs and suffered seizures during withdrawal. She asked to go to the hospital. They refused. An hour before she died, they handed her a mop and asked her to clean up her own vomit. https://t.co/kEmeTalC5g— Anjeanette Damon (@AnjeanetteDamon) August 31, 2018
A 27-year-old Texas woman in need of medical assistance died alone in her cell last year and was discovered hours after her death by the prison staff. Her family is now suing the county sheriff for negligence and contributing to her death.
Kelly Coltrain was booked into Mineral County jail on July 19, 2017 after she was pulled over for speeding, according to a WUSA9 report. The officer, who stopped her, discovered she had failed to pay her parking tickets and when he reportedly asked her about her medical history, she refused to answer. She was then taken to jail where she was held on bail which she couldn’t pay either.
The report states she told the officer in charge, Sgt Jim Holland, that she was drug dependant and would relapse into seizures when withdrawing. Holland was supposed to get her cleared by a doctor when he first learnt of her medical condition; however he did not, court documents reported.
Four hours after her arrest, Coltrain requested a deputy, Ray Gulcynski, she needed to be taken to a hospital. However, he told her he couldn’t do that unless he determines her life was at risk.
“Unfortunately, since you're DT'ing (referring to the detoxification process), I'm not going to take you over to the hospital right now just to get your fix,” deputy Gulcynski told Coltrain, according to the document. “That's not the way detention works, unfortunately. You are incarcerated with us, so... You don't get to go to the hospital when you want.”
Three days later, Coltrain’s condition had worsened.
On July 22, 2017, she vomited on the floor of her cell. Instead of taking her to get treated, Holland gave her a mop and told her to wipe her own vomit. Weak and shaking, Coltrain tried to do that taking many breaks in between to rest.
That was the last time anyone saw her alive.
An hour later, Coltrain, who was bundled up beneath blankets in a fetal position, suddenly went rigid. She spasmed for several minutes andno one came to her rescue, despite the cell being a video-monitored one. Finally, she fell limp around 6:30 p.m. and when Gulcynski came to move her to another cell at around 12:30 a.m., he found her unresponsive.
According to the police report, 20 minutes of video showing the deputy entering the cell was missing from the records the state got from the sheriff’s office. It was later found by a Reno Gazette Journal reporter among files provided to attorney Terri Keyser-Cooper, who is representing the Coltrains in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The video shows Gulcynski leaving her cell and returning to check Coltrain’s pulse. The cell remained locked until a forensic technician arrived at 5:48 a.m. and nobody called for medical assistance after Coltrain was found unmoving. Toxicology results found she had heroin in her system.
The 300-page report by Nevada investigators showed Mineral County sheriffs may have violated state laws but charges against them were never filed. The documents alleged had the deputy supervised Coltrain more, as required by the department policies, her death may have easily been averted. The jail staff could also have easily walked the victim to an area hospital in just two minutes.
Holland chose to retire early while Gulcynski was reportedly disciplined.
The investigators asked the district attorney to press criminal charges, however, he declined to do so, saying the two did not exhibit “cruel, oppressive or malicious treatment” toward Coltrain.
“Based on my review, they did not notice any signs warranting any medical intervention based on their training or experience,” district attorney Stephen Rye said.
Coltrain’s family is now suing Mineral County for damages as well as to push for better prison conditions.
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