Authorities Pay $550K to Family of Man Who Died After DUI Arrest

The city of Charleston and the county have paid $550,000 to the family of a man who died after DUI arrest due to what looks like police negligence. The man, Nathaniel Rhodes, was involved in a car crash. He was suspected of driving under the influence.

The crash took place back in August, 2008. Following the crash, Rhodes sustained minor injuries and was placed on stretcher in an EMS ambulance. While he was being provided first aid, Charleston Officer Paul Kelly questioned Rhodes about alcohol consumption. An opened wine bottle was found in the van which led Officer Kelly to suspect that Rhodes had been driving under the influence.

However, instead of allowing Rhodes to receive medical treatment, Kelly instead took him to the police station. Officer Kelly also signed the ‘refusal to transport’ form on behalf of Rhodes when this form should actually have been filled by the EMS workers.

Rhodes was then accompanied out of the ambulance and given the field sobriety test. Failing that, he was handcuffed and taken to the police station. Before he could enter the station, Rhodes started reporting discomfort. As he was in the station, he suffered a seizure. Upon this, he was rushed to the hospital where he died four days later.

The family of the deceased had alleged misconduct of the Charleston Police Department in the case. Little to no footage of the entire case was retained on the body cameras or dash cams as the video was deleted after a 30-month stipulated period. In an apparent admission of the negligence of the police department, the family has now received $550,000 in damages for the death of Rhodes. Of this amount, the county has paid $75,000 while the rest has been paid by the city.

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