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Woman Jailed For Speeding Tickets Died In Custody After Allegedly Being Denied Medical Care

Kelly Coltrain, 27, told deputies she had a history of seizures while suffering from drug withdrawal. Days after her arrest, she was dead. 

By Jill Sederstrom

In the days leading up to Kelly Coltrain's death, she can be seen in photos happy and smiling as she celebrated her grandmother's 75th birthday in Lake Tahoe. She even took part in a family talent show.

But the 27-year-old's life took a tragic turn after she was stopped for speeding on her way home from the visit and was booked into the Mineral County Jail in Nevada on July 19 after a warrants check found her license had been suspended for failing to appear for previous traffic violations.

Just days later, she'd be dead in her jail cell after her family's lawyers say she failed to receive the medical help she needed to safely detox from drugs, even after she'd requested to go to the hospital and told jail staff she had previously had seizures when experiencing withdrawal from drugs.

During her stay in jail, Coltrain received no medical care, was never evaluated by a medical professional and was even forced to clean up her own vomit, attorneys Terri Keyser-Cooper and Kerry S. Doyle allege in a wrongful death lawsuit.

She's last seen moving in her cell on video surveillance footage at 6:26 p.m. on July 22, 2017, but her death isn't discovered until approximately 12:30 a.m. on the morning of July 23 and no one entered her cell until 5:40 a.m. that day, the suit claims.

"Kelly remained dead in her cell for more than ten hours while an [occasional] deputy walked by," the complaint filed by her family's attorneys said.

The details of Coltrain's 2017 death were recently released in a 300-page report conducted by the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Investigation Division.

Although Coltrain did not initially divulge her drug dependence when brought to the Mineral County jail, she told Sgt. James Holland during the booking process that she was drug dependent and had suffered drug-induced seizures before, the report said.

She was placed in a maximum security cell by herself, which was monitored by video cameras. Holland told investigators that Coltrain ate very little during her stay and was often curled up on the jail bed in a blanket, the report obtained by Oxygen.com said.

On the day of her death, Coltrain vomited on the floor of her cell. Sgt. Holland brought her a mop and asked her to clean it up herself, the report said. Holland told investigators Coltrain didn't get off of her bed, but mopped the floor from the bed. After she missed several spots, he pointed them out and had her clean those.

When Holland left his shift that day, he told investigators, he told Deputy Ray Gulcynski, who was on duty, that if she vomited again they should maybe send her to the hospital.

But, according to the complaint filed in the wrongful death suit, less than an hour after Coltrain was asked to clean the jail cell, video shows her making "small convulsive spasm type movements." A few minutes later, she makes her final movements and presumably dies, although her family's lawyers said she was not checked on for hours.

When she was first brought into the jail, Coltrain had asked to go to the hospital, Gulcynski told investigators.

He told her "I'm not going to take you over to the hospital right now just to get your fix ... that's not the way detention works, unfortunately," the report stated.

Coltrain had also informed him she'd had seizures in the past and he responded that if she had one to press the button and he'd come right away, he told investigators. 

Coltrain wasn't discovered dead in her cell until Gulcynski had come to move her to a bed in the general population and received no response when he spoke to her. He told investigators at that point he checked her carotid artery and didn't feel a pulse and also noticed her lips were blue. He made no attempt to resuscitate her.

After concluding the death investigation, investigators asked the Mineral County District to consider criminal charges as they said the Mineral County Sheriff's Office may have violated laws related to providing humane treatment of prisoners. The case was reviewed by Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye to prevent any conflicts of interest, but he had declined to press charges in the case, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

"The review of the case, in our opinion, did not establish any willful or malicious acts by jail staff that would justify the filing of charges under the requirements of the statute," Rye said.

The county's lawyer Brett Ryman described Coltrain's death as a tragedy and said the sheriff planned to update jail policies and training as a result of the death, according to the Journal. He declined to answer any specific questions about the case.

"It's just really difficult for a small rural county like this to handle what is a massive problem," he told the paper. "There are so many people addicted to substances who end up going through withdrawal in the jail."

But Coltrain's family wants justice for the young woman who died alone in her cell and hopes the wrongful death lawsuit helps them achieve it.

"Kelly Coltrain experienced physical pain, severe emotional distress, and mental anguish for days, and died in agony," her family's attorneys wrote in their complaint.

[Photo: Released By the Family and Provided By Kerry S. Doyle]

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