PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While Washington County investigators say a former Rankin Police chief’s death appears to be from natural causes, former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht says police use of a Taser did not directly cause his death.

Authorities say Darryl Briston, 49, died over the weekend after an altercation with his estranged wife’s new boyfriend, and a chase that ended when a Taser was applied to his leg.

“I believe, in this case, that the tapering had no effect directly on Mr. Briston’s death,” says Wecht. “It was applied in stun gun fashion – as opposed to shooting out the darts – for a couple of seconds or so to the leg. This was very proper. This was a good thing to have done considering that he was fleeing from the police and he was acting in a wild, uncontrolled fashion and so on. They stayed away from the chest. They did not shoot him multiple times with the Taser gun.”

The police contention that there was a 24-minute gap before his cardiac arrest says to Wecht that the Taser was not a significant factor.

“In my opinion this is a cardiac death in no way related to the Taser,” said Wecht. “It was the running; it was the exertion; it was the stress of the entire scenario as I have heard it explained that led to this unfortunate death of a relatively young man.”

Meantime, state police say their investigation is ongoing.

Former Police Chief Dies Of Heart Attack After Police Scuffle (12/16/12)
More Washington County News