Deputies investigating drug-related death during Wythe County traffic stop

The passenger possibly swallowed the drugs, resulting in his death, according to authorities

Wythe County Sheriff's Office (WSLS 10)

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible intoxicated driver call that resulted in one person’s death on Friday.

On Friday around 9:32 p.m., the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible intoxicated driver call in the Ivanhoe community area, according to authorities.

The Sheriff’s office said that when two deputies were patrolling the area, they stopped a Chevrolet car traveling on the wrong side of Painters Hill Road.

When deputies stopped the car, they noticed the driver, Nickie Vaughan, was moving uncontrollably when talking as well as a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the car, authorities said.

The deputy asked Vaughan to step out of the vehicle to conduct a field sobriety test, and when she stepped out of the car, one of her hands was clenched tightly around a bagged substance, methamphetamine, according to the Sheriff’s office.

Their report stated that Vaughan was detained when they found the drugs in her hand.

When the deputies proceeded with their check, they asked the passenger of the vehicle, John Brown, to step out so they could conduct a search, according to authorities.

The Sheriff’s office said that Brown claimed to have been drinking and then was detained for public intoxication, and no other substances were found inside the vehicle.

Brown was escorted to the back seat of a police car, then deputies went back to continue with Vaughan’s sobriety test, authorities said.

But when they were conducting the test, authorities said that the deputies heard Brown kicking the door of the car and that he claimed to be suffocating.

According to the Sheriff’s office, the deputies checked on Brown, removed him from the car, and stood him up when he collapsed and started shaking. The deputies called for rescue.

We’re told Brown stopped breathing after the deputies called for rescue, and they gave Brown CPR until Lead Mines Rescue crews arrived.

The Sheriff’s office said that Narcan was administered, but Brown was dead.

Vaughan told deputies that they had methamphetamine in the car and that she thought Brown may have swallowed it to avoid being caught, authorities said.

Authorities said that Brown’s body has been taken to a medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The Sheriff’s office told us that the deputies were wearing body cameras and that the footage will be reviewed for the investigation.

The Virginia State Police and Wythe County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division were contacted to investigate.


About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.