On June 24, 2022, at 21:32 hours a Wythe County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the community of Ivanhoe about a possible intoxicated driver. While patrolling the area two deputies stopped a Chevrolet car that was traveling on the wrong side of the road on Painters Hill Road. The deputy found the driver to be Nickie L. Vaughan (birthdate: November 5, 1974) of Fries, Virginia. He noticed her uncontrollable movements while speaking with her. He also noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from within the vehicle. The deputy asked Ms. Vaughan to step out of the vehicle to conduct a field sobriety test. While stepping out of the vehicle he noticed one of her hands was clenched tight. The deputy found in Ms. Vaughan’s hand a bag of crystal substance consistent to be methamphetamine. Ms. Vaughan was detained at this point.
The deputy then went to the passenger side of the vehicle and identified John Junior Brown (DOB December 23, 1972) and asked Mr. Brown to step out of the vehicle so he could search. Mr. Brown stated he was the one that had been drinking. No narcotics were found in the vehicle. Mr. Brown was arrested for public intoxication and was placed in the back of a patrol car. The deputies went back to Ms. Vaughan to conduct the field sobriety test. While conducting the test the deputies heard Mr. Brown kicking the door of the police vehicle. The deputies went to check on Mr. Brown and he stated he was suffocating. They removed him from the car and stood him up on his feet when he collapsed and started shaking. The deputies called for rescue thinking he was having a seizure. Mr. Brown stopped breathing and CPR was conducted by the deputies on the scene until Lead Mines Rescue arrived. Narcan was administered but John Junior Brown was deceased.
The driver of the vehicle stated they did have methamphetamine in the car and she suspected he had swallowed the narcotic so he would not get caught with it.
The Virginia State Police and Wythe County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division were contacted to investigate what had happened. The deputies body camera footage will be reviewed to determine if or when Mr. Brown had swallowed anything during the traffic stop. The body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The driver of the car (Nickie Vaughan) was charged with the following:
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs; Possession of Sch 1 or 2 narcotic; Refusal of a blood or breath test and Reckless Driving.
-Wythe County Sheriff’s Offfice