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Denied Medical Care While Detoxing, Woman Dies in Jail Over Traffic Tickets

Screenshot of Kelly Coltrain in handcuffs in the back of a police car
Kelly Coltrain died of withdrawal symptoms in jail after officials ignored her requests for medical attention. Image via YouTube

Pulled over for speeding and booked into Mineral County Jail because of unpaid traffic tickets, 27-year-old Kelly Coltrain died days later from withdrawal symptoms after her requests for medical attention went ignored.

After a 13 month long investigation into Coltrain’s death, state investigators just released a 300-page report which described in detail the neglect suffered by Coltrain at the Mineral County Jail.

The state’s investigation found jailers violated policy by denying her medical attention and suggested the Mineral County District Attorney consider criminal charges. Lyon County took over the investigation to avoid a conflict of interest but ultimately refused to press charges. Coltrain’s family, however, disagrees and has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Arrested for Traffic Tickets

Originally based in Texas, Coltrain came to Reno and Lake Tahoe for her grandmother’s 75th birthday celebration. Following the party, traffic officers arrested her for speeding outside Hawthorne on July 19, 2017. The officers found Coltrain had outstanding traffic violations in Clark County, and so booked her into the Mineral County Jail.

At first, Coltrain would not say anything about her next of kin or medical history. But on learning she was not eligible for bail, Coltrain told Sgt. Jim Holland that she was drug dependent and prone to suffer terrible seizures during withdrawal.

Holland failed to adhere to jail policy which required that inmates with a history of seizures be cleared by a doctor before being remanded at the jail. Also in violation of policy, no jail employees closely watched Coltrain’s vitals as she went through withdrawals.

A surveillance video installed her in cell recorded everything that then would follow and lead to her death.

“When We Feel That Your Life Is At Risk…Then You Will Go To Hospital”

A few hours after landing at the jail, Coltrain pleaded with the night officer to go to a hospital because she needed immediate medication. The officer that night, Deputy Ray Gulcynski, told Coltrain he wouldn’t allow her visit the hospital since she was detoxing.

“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,” Gulcynski told Coltrain. “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. When we feel that your life is at risk… then you will go.”

Over the next three days Coltrain became very sick and could not eat, barely drank water and spent almost all of her time curled up in a fetal position under her blankets.

On the morning of the third day, things got even worse for Coltrain and she began vomiting, trembling and making short convulsive like movements.

A little after 5 p.m. that evening, Holland brought her some food but Coltrain could only eat a few bites despite him urging her to eat. Then the officer saw that Coltrain had vomited and soiled her prison uniform. He brought her another uniform and a mop, asking her to clean her vomit – according to a video recording of events in her cell.

Coltrain was too weak to mop her vomit, but managed to do so with one hand while remaining seated on her bed. Holland who said later he thought she was just being lazy, forced her to clean up other spots on the floor even though she was barely able to move.

By 6:30 p.m. that evening, Coltrain was dead in her cell. Despite the live video feed of Coltrain’s cell, no one entered again until Gulcynski arrived at 12:30 a.m. to move her to a different cell. Instead, he found her completely unresponsive after kicking her lightly with his foot. He ventured further into her cell and touched her gently before quickly leaving.

Gulcynski says he informed his superiors that Coltrain was cold and appeared dead. Video shows him going back into her cell to check for a pulse and then leaving again. Noone called for paramedics upon finding her unresponsive in her cell.

Coltrain was left in her cell until around 6 a.m. when a forensic technician from Washoe County arrived to begin an investigation. The Washoe County Medical Examiner called Coltrain’s death accidental and caused by “complications of drug use.” Toxicology results showed she had heroin in her system.

Jailers Violated Prison Policy, but No Charges Pressed

Prison policy dictates that officers must visit inmates twice every hour if they are lying under blankets, but Gulcynski and the other jailers never did this. Gulcynski said he watched Coltrain from the video monitor and thought she was asleep the night she died.

According to a Reno Gazette report, Holland told state investigators that Coltrain “never looked good,” but that he couldn’t “force medical attention” on inmates.

Detective Damon Earl, the state investigator for the case, noted that had Gulcynski and Holland adhered to some of the jail’s policies Coltrain likely would not have died.

“There were a limited number of times where Coltrain had actual contact with the staff,” Earl wrote. “This may be significant because had more contact been made with Coltrain, indicators of Kelly’s medical condition may have been observed. These indicators may have alerted staff therefore prompting medical attention to be rendered to Coltrain.”

Despite state investigators determining that deputies violated several policies in regard to Coltrain’s medical needs, the District Attorneys for both Mineral County and Lyon County refused to press charges. After jurisdiction was given to Lyon County, the D.A. determined officials did not commit any willful or malicious.

“Based on my review, they did not notice any signs warranting any medical intervention based on their training or experience,” the Lyon County D.A. said. “They were provided information related to her, and it appeared to me that was taken into account in her housing and monitoring. The officers did not ignore information provided to them. And, based on the reports by NDI, it did not appear that they exhibited any cruel, oppressive or malicious treatment.”

But Coltrain’s family is filing a lawsuit for wrongful death. Terri Keyser-Cooper and Kerry Doyle, both lawyers, are representing the family in the litigation.

“Defendants knew Kelly Coltrain was in medical distress,” the lawyers wrote. “Kelly Coltrain’s medical condition was treatable and her death preventable. If Ms. Coltrain had received timely and appropriate medical care, she would not have died. Kelly Coltrain suffered a protracted, extensive, painful, unnecessary death as a result of defendants’ failures.”

A Bonus and Early Retirement for Officials Responsible for Kelly Coltrain’s Death

The family’s lawsuit claims that both Holland and Gulcynski were disciplined but Holland opted for early retirement.

Then last June, Mineral County voted to give Holland an additional year towards his service and granted him $17,853. According to the Reno Gazette, that decision allowed Holland to retire with a higher annual pension and health care benefits than he would have received otherwise.

Meanwhile, the family’s lawyers said they would not settle for compensation only and that they wanted a guarantee of an improvement in the conditions at the jail.

During the whole ordeal, a hospital was just across the street from the jail and Coltrain. Detective Earl timed his walk from the jail to the hospital and said it took “a little over two minutes.”

Wheelchair-Bound Woman Files Lawsuit against Arkansas Prison Authorities for Jail Abuse

 

 

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49 Comments

  1. Tina Campos September 8, 2018

    😠

    Reply
  2. John Jay Rose September 8, 2018

    How many times has she detoxed , how long should we let people abuse the system over and over again. She chose her path that day I am sorry she died but……..you make your bed

    Reply
    1. Jamie Rylens November 17, 2018

      She suffered a devastating sports injury in high school, and was mis prescribed heavy opiates to cope with the pain, which led to a an unfortunate drug addiction. Stop blaming people for the failure of authorities, try thinking before you wish away peoples lives rather than confront the uncomfortable realities of how power is abused. What you said about a tragic and avoidable death is absolutly despicable, and your cretinous attitude is evidence of a deeply pathetic worldview, and miserable life

  3. Roy Barnes September 8, 2018

    Welcome to America, USA. USA. USA. So this sounds stupid, well this is what we have allowed.

    Reply
  4. Gen Tate-Jewett September 8, 2018

    THE WORLD IS GETTING SOOOO CRUEL, EVEN THE POLICE..

    Reply
  5. Charles Freedom September 8, 2018

    Sad to see what’s happening in America.

    Reply
  6. Walls Bett September 8, 2018

    Damn shame

    Reply
  7. Gwendolyn Armour September 8, 2018

    Wow, another Sandra Blaine! We have a hateful leader and KKK cops who don’t give a crap!

    Reply
  8. Jeanne Macdonald September 8, 2018

    No excuse.

    Reply
  9. Frank Cromis September 8, 2018

    Sad

    Reply
  10. Peca Blanco September 8, 2018

    Horrific!! Now you are sentence to death for tickets!!

    Reply
  11. Larry L. Cunningham September 8, 2018

    Deplorable!

    Reply
  12. Henry Peterson September 8, 2018

    No excuses for stupidity

    Reply
  13. Roger Jasso September 8, 2018

    Scary when being arrested either being alive or dead!!

    Reply
  14. Hector Roldan September 8, 2018

    Be careful when dealing with the police. Your life depends on it.

    Reply
  15. Verna Schertz September 8, 2018

    SUCH A SAD THING—TRUMP HAS MORE BLOOD ON HIS HANDS.

    Reply
  16. Rachel Puccio September 8, 2018

    So disgusting and they swear to serve and protect….????

    Reply
  17. Sue Ross September 8, 2018

    This is Not Justice. This is inhumanity to people.

    Reply
  18. Carreen Randy Guglielmino September 8, 2018

    So wrong.

    Reply
  19. Chari Hayes September 8, 2018

    This is how a lot of police are. After they stop you or arrest you… you stop being human.

    Reply
  20. Josh Schwien September 8, 2018

    Happened to me when I was on psych meds.

    Reply
  21. Katy Tessler Braun September 8, 2018

    WHY DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN.

    Reply
  22. Javier Blanco September 8, 2018

    Dam thats fucked up

    Reply
  23. Richard Garcia September 8, 2018

    Law suit!

    Reply
  24. Andrea Rubino-Gensch September 8, 2018

    How Horrible!!

    Reply
  25. April Severin September 8, 2018

    That’s terrible

    Reply
  26. Beverly Price September 14, 2018

    Acknowledged

    Reply
  27. Kathy Nugent September 14, 2018

    Really Sad

    Reply
  28. Linda Craig September 14, 2018

    Clearly they made arrogant medical decisions they were not trained to make. The clean up thing showed a malicious state of mind. Statistics on deaths in jails are awful. This ain’t Mayberry folks. There should be a medically qualified nurse or better to monitor and make life or death decisions?. Just doing their “job”? Is not an excuse for manslaughter or murder.

    Reply
  29. Shirley Hawkins September 14, 2018

    Really sick people like trump order for a traitor. Cop out with murders.

    Reply
  30. Josh Schwien September 14, 2018

    Probably lives in UT

    Reply
  31. Louise Dodson September 14, 2018

    No words

    Reply
  32. Douglas Scheidt September 14, 2018

    The system is broken.

    Reply
  33. Penny Lannie Fickling September 14, 2018

    This is so sad. Someone needs to answered for this.😡😡😡😡😡

    Reply
  34. Kerry Denise September 14, 2018

    Sad !!

    Reply
  35. Ann Corson September 14, 2018

    No excuse for something like this to happen.

    Reply
  36. John Jay Rose September 14, 2018

    Sad but how many times has she had to DRY OUT cannot place all the blame on the jail

    Reply
  37. John Jay Rose September 14, 2018

    Have to know the whole story…

    Reply
  38. Marie Marks September 14, 2018

    This Is Negligence!!!!!

    Reply
  39. Ronald Christensen September 14, 2018

    Another bad cop story, you never hear things like that from Firemen, Postmen or Delivery people !

    Reply
  40. Deborah Anderson September 14, 2018

    This administration and Republican party needs to answer for this God dam senseless tragedy

    Reply
    1. Jerry Schroader September 14, 2018

      Deborah Anderson what the hell did this have to do with Republican

  41. Brenda Wallis September 14, 2018

    when prisons are for profit…

    Reply
  42. Jo An Porrine September 14, 2018

    Why ? You know John, it takes what it takes.

    Reply
  43. Cheryl Yeager September 14, 2018

    Shameful

    Reply
  44. George House September 14, 2018

    Shameful and Disgraceful

    Reply
  45. Larry L. Cunningham September 14, 2018

    Deplorable!

    Reply
  46. Lynda Brake September 14, 2018

    Trump’s America!

    Reply
  47. James Perry September 14, 2018

    To bad jailers aren’t trained, could prevent stupid mistakes.

    Reply

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