BEAUMONT, TX (KTRE) - A forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on a 41-year-old suspect who died after Tyler County Sheriff's Office deputies used a Taser on him on June 1 ruled that the man's death was an accident and that it was caused by "acute methamphetamine toxicity."
Dr. John M. Wayne performed the autopsy on Michael Shay Cassell, a Kountze resident, at the Forensic Medical Management Services facility in Beaumont on June 2.
The autopsy report said that Cassell's toxicology test revealed that "significant" amounts of meth, amphetamine, and atropine were found in his system. Wayne also said that Cassell had injuries that were consistent with reports that the TCSO deputies used a Taser on him, scrapes, and seven fractured ribs.
According to a press release from the Tyler County Sheriff Office, TCSO deputies made a traffic stop on a vehicle on FM 92 near FM 1746 on June 1.
They were able to identify the driver of the vehicle without any incident. However, the passenger, who was later identified as Cassell, gave the deputies a fake name, and he was unable to produce any kind of identification, the press release stated.
"While speaking with the passenger, deputies noted he exhibited possible signs of being under the influence of some type of narcotic," the press release stated.
When the deputies returned to their patrol unit in an attempt to ID the passenger and check for warrants for both occupants, the passenger jumped out of the vehicle and ran into a nearby wooded area. One deputy chased him while the other detained the driver.
After Cassell refused to comply with the deputy's commands, the TCSO deputy deployed his Taser.
Cassell became unresponsive, and the deputies at the scene performed CPR on him until EMS arrived.
"Cassell was transported to the Tyler County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford," the press release stated. "An autopsy was ordered by Judge Ford regarding Cassell's cause of death."
Later, the Tyler County Sheriff's Office determined that Cassell had multiple outstanding felony arrest warrants out of Sabine County and was in possession of drugs when he tried to run from the scene of the traffic stop.
The Texas Rangers investigated the incident.