Stratosphere Crash Driver Commits Suicide: Why Was He Freed?

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On September 10th, a man named Ryan C. Brown crashed his Ford F-150 pickup into the Stratosphere, a hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If this act alone wasn't disturbing enough, Brown allegedly declared that he wanted to jump from the tower.

The 40-year-old man was taken into custody. However, for reasons that remain unknown, he was never actually charged with a crime.

Apparently there was also no indication that charges would be filed at any point in the future.

Inevitably Brown was freed, though with the expectation that he would return to court on October 15th.

Unfortunately, Brown committed suicide by hanging himself just one day after he was freed by authorities.

His body was found in a room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Tuesday.

According to the Clark County coroner, the official cause of death was asphyxiation.

Daren Richards, assistant Clark County public defender, said that “the real question is why the district attorney didn't charge him.”

I have to disagree with this statement.

The real question must be why a man who (1) crashed his vehicle into a building and then (2) declared a desire to jump from the top of a very tall building was somehow let go, with the expectation that he would not repeat his attempt at self-harm?

Richards said that arrestees are typically carefully examined in order to determine if there is a definite suicide risk. But the lack of charges made it virtually impossible for law enforcement to act.

"It's not against the law to be mentally ill,” said Officer Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas police spokesman.

There was nothing that could be done except release Brown, a man who admitted that he’d recently been fired after a domestic dispute with his wife. Police also shared that Brown was under the influence of illegal drugs for some time before crashing his pickup truck.

All that’s left in the wake of this rather unfortunate situation is a number of disturbing questions and a desire to see more help available for troubled individuals like Brown.

It may not be against the law to be mentally ill, but should protecting and serving the public include protecting them from themselves? How can this be done without violating their rights or is such a thing even possible? Please share your thoughts below.