Man dies in police custody following traffic stop
A Colt man died early Saturday morning after being arrested by the St. Francis County Sheriff's Department, after allegedly consuming more than two grams of methamphetamine.
The St. Francis County Sheriff's Department reported that just after 2:30 a.m., deputies patrolling County Road 336 in the Telico area attempted to stop a 2002 Saturn driven by Michelle Manues 31, 4194 SFC 311, Forrest City, for driving left of center. Manues reportedly stopped the vehicle, at which time a passenger, 38-year-old Ervin Terrell Motley, of Colt, jumped from it and ran from officers.
According to the press release, Motley ran more than 300 yards over hills and through a wooded area before being apprehended by deputies. As deputies attempted to take Motley into custody, he allegedly shoved the deputy and dropped his hands out of sight of the deputy who then used a Taser to subdue him. During a later search of Motley, deputies found a knife clipped to his belt.
While taking Motley back to the scene of the traffic stop, deputies reported that he allegedly told them he had taken one gram of meth an hour before the incident and had swallowed another gram of meth when he saw the officers. Deputies asked Motley if he needed medical attention and he refused, officials said in the press release.
According to the press release, deputies were in the process of transporting Motley and Manues in separate vehicles to the county jail when Motley collapsed while talking to the deputy transporting him, near Caldwell and three miles from where the arrest occurred. The deputy stopped at the Caldwell Fire Department and contacted dispatchers seeking emergency assistance as a second deputy attempted to perform CPR on Motley until emergency personnel arrived on the scene. Motley was transported to Forrest City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Motley's body has been sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner's office in Little Rock for an autopsy.
According to Sheriff Bobby May, officials with the Arkansas State Police have been called in to investigate the incident.
"Any time you have an incident such as this it is standard to ask someone else to review what you did. We have contacted the State Police, and Dale Arnold (Special Agent with the ASP's Criminal Investigation Division) is going to look at this incident. Having them take a look at this is customary just to make sure that we did everything we were supposed to do and followed all of the standard practices that we were supposed to follow when making an arrest," said May.
None of the deputies involved are facing disciplinary action at this time, according to May.
May also said he regrets that the incident occurred.
"We all hate this and are very sorry that this happened. I just told the family the same thing. Terrell was well known in this area as a drug user, and one of the side effects of prolonged methamphetamine use is that it severely damages the heart. When talking to him at the scene, he told deputies that he had ingested a gram of meth within an hour before then stop and then ingested a second gram of meth when deputies stopped the car. That could have caused his death alone, but then combine the running that he did with that amount a drugs in his system, and it was a fatal combination," said May.
May said he expects it to take about a week before the department receives an oral preliminary cause of death in the case. May also said Motley was on parole and had been recently released from the Arkansas Department of Corrections on prior narcotics charges. May said Manues also has an extensive history of narcotics arrests.
Manues was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia after deputies found several items used to manufacture methamphetamine inside the vehicle. She was released Saturday morning and was scheduled to appear in St. Francis County District Court today.