Report shows Tasered man died from drugs

ALBANY, Ga. -- Preliminary autopsy reports released Wednesday point to drugs as the cause of death in the case of Denevious Thomas, 36, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation official stated.

After leading Dougherty County Police officers on a traffic violation-related chase, Thomas crashed his vehicle into a brick wall Nov. 23 at the intersection of Sunny Lane and Jeffries Avenue and ran away.

Officers Tasered Thomas twice to subdue him.

Thomas was walked to and placed in a patrol car to await the arrival of an ambulance while officers interviewed a passenger in his wrecked vehicle. Thomas died in the patrol car.

"The preliminary results have determined that the death was a result of drug use," GBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Pro said. "It was possibly cocaine use."

The full report, including a toxicology report from the autopsy by the GBI lab, could take another couple of weeks, Pro said. The toxicology report is expected to identify the drugs Thomas used.

Thomas had a history of drug use, court records state. He had been convicted in Dougherty Superior Court for drug-related crimes since at least 1992.

The convictions include selling cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in 1992; possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and tampering with evidence in 2001; and possession of cocaine in 2007.

As is typical when a suspect in custody dies, officers involved in the arrest -- Lynn Davis, Matt Stone and Lt. Mike Wood -- were placed on administration leave with pay during the investigation county police asked the GBI to conduct.

"We have some administrative details to go through," said police Chief Don Cheek, "but I expect them to be back at work the beginning of next week."