Coke Consumption May Have Caused Man's Death

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A Huntsville man is dead after authorities say he swallowed cocaine before police could get it.

Courtney O'Bryant, 25, was pulled over on a routine stop just before 3pm Friday. Some of his three passengers were not wearing their seatbelts.

But a Huntsville police officer noticed a bag of cocaine in O'Bryant's hand when he approached the car. Before the officer could get to it, O'Bryant began swallowing the powder. He was forcibly removed from the car and placed under arrest.

While O'Bryant was handcuffed on the hood of the vehicle, authorities say the officer tried to get him to spit up what he had swallowed. O'Bryant did regurgitate some, but also attempted to lick it off the hood of the vehicle. He was placed on the ground as a result, then put in the back of the squad car.

A few minutes later, O'Bryant went into cardiac arrest, according to police. He was quickly transported to Huntsville Memorial Hospital, where he died just after 4pm.

Walker County Sheriff Clint McCray said he and Texas Rangers reviewed the police dash-cam that recorded the stop and says no excessive force was used in arresting O'Bryant, who would have faced two felony charges: possession of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence. It is unknown how much cocaine he swallowed, but between four and six grams were recovered, including what O'Bryant had spit up.

Besides some cocaine spilled on a seat of the car, no other substances were found in the vehicle. The three female passengers were searched, but nothing was found. However, one of the three did have an outstanding warrant. She was arrested and taken to Walker County jail.

A preliminary autopsy is being conducted on O'Bryant, who did have a prior criminal record which included drug possession.