A Facebook post regarding the Mineral County Detention Center and a young woman who died while jailed in the facility went viral on Friday night.
Kelly Coltrain, 27, died while being detained at the facility, according to a lengthy article in the Reno Gazette Journal.
The incident, which happened 13 months ago, is described in a 300-page report that was compiled by state investigators. The Independent-News has requested these documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
According to the Gazette Journal, the report states that Coltrain’s jailers “violated multiple policies when they denied her medical care after she informed them she was dependent on drugs and suffered seizures when she went through withdrawals.”
Coltrain was arrested July 19, 2017, in Mineral County after failing to take care of traffic tickets in Clark County. She had been living in Texas but visited family in Reno and Lake Tahoe to celebrate her grandmother’s 75th birthday.
The Gazette Journal reported that Coltrain refused to answer questions about her medical history while being booked but after she was informed that she would be unable to make bail, she told Sgt. James Holland that she was dependent of drugs and had a history of seizures when she withdrawals from the drug.
“After Coltrain came forward with her medical history, Holland did not follow jail policy that requires inmates with a history of seizures to be cleared by a doctor before being held at the jail,” the Gazette Journal reported. “Nor did jail staff follow medical protocol of carefully monitoring the vitals of a person undergoing withdrawals.”
Unlike detention facilities located in larger cities, Mineral County does not have on-site medical personnel and relies on the hospital located nearby.
Coltrain spent three days in the jail within her cell where, it was reported, she ate and drank very little and remained in bed.
The investigative report, according to the Gazette-Journal, says that she began vomiting, trembling and “making short, convulsive type movements.” Holland brought Coltrain a tray around dinner time. She ate a few bites after his insistence. He also brought her a change of clothing and asked her to mop her jail cell, where the floor was spotted with vomit as shown in a still shot of surveillance video on the RGJ site.
The video, not yet obtained by the Independent-News but reported by the RGJ, shows that Coltrain lay in a fetal position and, an hour after her dinner tray was served, began to show signs of convulsions.
Deputy Ray Gulcynski told investigators that he had monitored the inmate over video surveillance and went to move her to a new cell around 12:30 a.m. on July 23. He found the young woman unresponsive. The video shows him touching her leg with the tip of his boot. When she didn’t respond, he “looks at her face, briefly touches her arm and then quickly exits the cell.”
Gulcynski then notified his supervisors. He reentered the cell to check for a pulse on Coltrain’s neck.
Coltrain’s body of was left within the cell until a forensic technician from Washoe County arrived around 5:48 a.m.
The Washoe County medical examiner labeled the 27-year-old woman’s death accidental, caused by “complications of drug use.” Toxicology records showed that she had heroin in her system.
Mineral County officials forwarded the case to Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye to avoid a conflict of interest.
Rye declined to press charges after reviewing the state report.
“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 statue,” Rye said.
Coltrain’s family has retained Nevada lawyers Terri Keyser-Cooper and Kerry Doyle who have filed the lawsuit on behalf of the woman’s family (her mother, father and grandmother). The wrongful death lawsuit states that the sheriff’s office ignored Coltrain’s life-threatening medical condition “despite knowing that she was suffering from withdrawals and had a history of seizures.”
The lawyers feel that Coltrain’s medical condition was treatable and her death preventable.
“In light of the recent news reports of the death of Kelly Coltrain, I feel compelled to reach out to you,” Sheriff Randy Adams told the Independent-News. “Although I cannot comment as to the particulars of her case, I would like to start by offering my heartfelt condolences to her family. I also want to add my apologies to you for such a negative light being shown on our great county. I assure you we have been doing all that we can to learn and better our department as a result of this tragedy.
“With that being said, I would like to remind all of you that we still have a Sheriff’s Office full of people who have been working day and night to earn your support. We have seen that support over the last few years and it has been meaningful to the men and women of this office. It is the most support I have seen for our office in a great number of years. In the wake of this tragedy, I understand that you may question that support, but I pray that you will continue to offer it to the men and women of your Sheriff’s Office. They do deserve it. They do work hard to serve and protect the people of Mineral County. Also while I understand the reaction of those angered by this tragedy to spew hate and discontent, please direct that at me. The public servants providing services to our communities don’t deserve it.
“Finally, let me remind everyone that a family is mourning the loss of a loved one; animosity is not going to help them. I would ask that we keep them in our thoughts as they are who really matter at this sad time.”
According to the Gazette Journal. Brett Ryman, an attorney retained by Mineral County, did not comment on the specifics of the investigation or on why no one called for emergency medical help or why no disciplinary action was taken against the two Mineral County deputies.
“Based on my review, they [the deputies] did not notice any signs warranting any medical intervention based on their training or experience,” Rye told the paper. “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 (Nevada Division of Investigation), it did not appear that they exhibited any cruel, oppressive or malicious treatment.”
Keyser-Cooper told the Gazette-Journal that she believes policies and training are “less than adequate.” The lawsuit brought by Coltrain’s family seeks compensation for their loss and seeks to have Adams improve conditions at the jail.
Mineral County Commissioner highlights, published in the Independent-News, show that some improvements have already been made, including the addition of a new video system as well as padding for a cell. The county coffers tend to be shallow, and Adams and Undersheriff Bill Ferguson have noted in meetings that many of these items are grant improved.
Ryman explained to the RGJ, “The policies of the jail in regard to people who have addictions and are undergoing withdrawals have the full attention of the sheriff and the county, despite the fact of the lawsuit.”
Mineral County District Attorney Sean Rowe did not respond to a request for comment, but the Board of County Commissioners issued a statement.
“The Board of Commissioners is aware of the lawsuit filed by the family of Kelly Coltrain,” the statement, obtained by the Independent-News, read. “Though the Board cannot discuss the specifics of the suit at this time, it does offer its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Kelly Coltrain.”