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Maryland Sees Growing List Of Taser-Related Deaths

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A car accident turned into chaos.  Montgomery County police ended up using a taser on the driver and then he died. 

Adam May reveals a growing number of taser-related deaths in Maryland.

Moments after a car smashed into a barrier on Route 29 in Burtonsville late Tuesday night, police say the driver suddenly went out of control.

“He became agitated, combative and assaulting the fire/rescue personnel,” said Captain Paul Sparks.  “It was a pretty terrific crash.”

Sparks says police fired a taser and the driver died.  Delric Tyrone East, 40, had a long history of drug and traffic violations.  Police found a bottle of PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his car.

“A female companion of the driver told police that each of them had ingested that PCP prior to the collision,” Sparks said.

A 2009 report from the attorney general found people under the influence are more likely to die after being shocked, but not all of Maryland’s 10 taser-related deaths can be linked to drugs.  The manufacture of Tasers has long defined what they call a “less than lethal alternative.”

At least 24 police agencies in Maryland use tasers, firing the weapon almost 1,400 time as of 2009.  In this incident, the medical examiner will determine if drugs, the taser or a combination of factors led to his death.

Four officers involved in the taser deployment are on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

No one else was hurt in the accident.

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