Local News

Autopsy: Taser didn't kill man, cocaine overdose did

Posted May 6, 2010

— A Wayne County man who died in January during an altercation with deputies died of a cocaine overdose, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Joe Spruill Jr., 33, became unruly as two Wayne County deputies tried to arrest him for disorderly conduct on Jan. 27, authorities said. One deputy fired his Taser at Spruill to subdue him, and while the deputies were waiting for paramedics to arrive, they noticed that Spruill was lying motionless in the road.

Spruill's family said he had a heart condition.

The medical examiner determined, however, that Spruill died of a cocaine overdose. A torn plastic bag was found in his esophagus, and tests showed a lethal amount of cocaine in his system, according to the autopsy report.


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  • Crayzee1 May 6, 2010

    "so called cocaine overdoses are actually heroin or speedball deaths." Umm, no those are called heroin overdoses, or mixed drug overdoses. Heroin overdoses look nothing like cocaine overdoses, and I've have seen both first hand. With coke, they all jacked up and jumping around, heroin overdoses, they all nodded out and spacey. I speak from knowledge, not opinion.

  • Crayzee1 May 6, 2010

    before tasers, cops would just shoot people. Tasers save lives, get over it. As for all you people who keep saying it wasnt the cocaine. How do you know? THIS GUY SWALLOWED A WHOLE BAG, ummm, yeah on top of a heart condition = dead dude.

  • manofjustice May 6, 2010

    CHRISTIAN do YOU know that does drugs and sells them to people??

    Well all the ones I know in church.

  • My3centsworth May 6, 2010

    I would suggest to godnessgracious that he/she re-read the article as it plainly states that he was found with a torn bag of coke in his throat. I do not believe that this is a normal method of ingesting cocaine. The dummy was selling and attempted to swallow the evidence to avoid arrest. period...

  • godnessgracious May 6, 2010

    Do they really think this guy would have died of a cocaine overdose had he not been tasered? This cannot be blamed on cocaine alone. I'm sure this guy had been doing the same strength cocaine and not died yet even with a heart condition. It takes a lot of cocaine to kill a man. It actually happens quite rarely. Most so called cocaine overdoses are actually heroin or speedball deaths.

  • NCAries May 6, 2010


    Maybe he couldn't get a job because he had a previous brush with the law and he resorted to dealing to feed his family...when babies are crying for food...parents will find a way to feed them whether society likes it or not.

  • NCAries May 6, 2010

    I get they live but how they function with this double standard IN THEIR HEAD is beyond my comprehension. Life is for growth...

    Being a minority in America you get used to double standards.

  • Anneleise May 6, 2010

    A welcome tax break. And to those of you who want to bash the police for doing their JOB.... next time you need help, call a low life drug dealer instead of the police. See what you get from them!

  • manofjustice May 6, 2010

    I do not agree with the findings. This nice young christian man would not do suchathang. This is horrible. I hope his family investigates into this further. This could happen to any of us.

  • mad_dash May 6, 2010

    Yeah.. no tax money wasted!