Local News


More details about Nye County death

Posted at 10:29 AM, Sep 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 13:29:55-04
A man traveling through Nevada died while in police custody in August.
Now, the Nye County sheriff is speaking out about what happened. 
41-year-old Joshua Coats was traveling through Beatty on August 14, on his way to New Mexico.  
Officials say Coats was at the Motel 6 off the highway, but during his stay, he became belligerent.  
Police say they received a disturbance call at the motel, and when they responded, he was throwing rocks, yelling, and trying to set propane tanks on fire. 
"Coats was passively resisting and was placed in a face-down position on the ground," says Sheriff Wehrly with Nye County. That's when police put him in belly and ankle restraints, to take him into custody.  Coats then needed medical attention. 
"Medical attention was provided and Coats ultimately expired while he was being worked on," says Sheriff Wehrly. 
Coats died while in police custody.  The department conducted an investigation and called in outside agencies for their expertise.  
The Clark County coroner says the victim was born with some heart problems, which would have made him more susceptible to a heart attack, during his interaction with police.  
The coroner also found a toxic amount of muscle relaxants in his system.  His death was ruled a homicide, but the sheriff says that does not establish fault. 
The two patrol deputies and two detectives have returned to duty, after weeks of administrative leave.  
The investigation found the four did not use excessive force.