Jester June 23rd, 2015
County suicides surge in 2011
HOLLIDAYSBURG Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross has a job that requires her to focus on some of the area’s most tragic events, but, she also is in a position to see trends that she tries to address.
Ross’ office was faced with a surge in suicides in 2011, particularly among middle aged residents, and a couple of disturbing incidents that may have stemmed from domestic problems.
After filing her 2011 reports Wednesday in the Blair County Prothonotary’s Office, Ross said she is working with a suicide prevention task
replica ray bans force to help educate residents about where to get help for depression.
The suicide prevention task force is headed by Ernie Podrasky, the consultation and education supervisor at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus. She said she also speaks to groups to get the word out where to seek help in case of domestic violence or other domestic problems.
In 2011, Ross had two incidents that appeared to be murder suicides, one involving a couple in Logan Township, the other in Allegheny Township.
In her autopsy reports filed this week, Ross ruled that a March incident in Logan Township involved a suicide by a husband, but the body of the woman was so badly burned that a cause of death could not be determined.
The Allegheny Township case occurred in May, also involving husband wife deaths, and a fire. In that case, the wife’s death was ruled a homicide and the husband’s death was the result of a self inflicted gunshot wound.
Ross said that she encourages individuals who may be experiencing domestic problems to also seek help.
Ross pointed out that there was another murder suicide in Logan Township last month when a 32 year old man killed a 29 year old woman and then turned the gun on himself. They were a couple with many problems, she said.
The office also investigated two homicides, 27 drug related deaths, 15 motor vehicle deaths and 19 fall deaths.
The number of drug related deaths in 2010 was 15, a dramatic drop from the 2009 when 25 area residents
cheap ray ban outlet died from drug overdoses. Ross attributed the drop in drug deaths in 2010 to the persistence of law enforcement to counter the heroin and crack cocaine trade.
In 2011, the number of drug deaths was back up into the 20s, but it wasn’t so
fake ray bans much the result of increased distribution of heroin or other illegal drugs, but in the use by many of a combination of drugs and even alcohol, Ross said.
In early 2011, police began to experience a problem with a now
replica ray ban sunglasses illegal substance known as Blizzard or bath salts.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Gov. Tom Corbett eventually included Blizzard among the state’s illegal drugs.
Before the state took action and before Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio sought to ban Blizzard from county businesses, Ross’ office became aware that people were not only committing bizarre acts but also were dying while under the influence of the substance.
Her reports listed Blizzard in at least two investigations as among the drugs causing a person’s death.
One of the homicides investigated in 2011 involved an elderly Bedford County man who died at Altoona Regional Health System.
At first investigators thought Irvin L. Hengst, 85, of Imler Road, Imler, may have died as the result of a fall, but the Coroner’s Office ruled that Hengst had been beaten to death, a homicide. Hengst sustained 19 broken ribs and facial injuries.
State police at Bedford are still investigating, Ross said.
One of the most tragic incidents of 2011 involved a March 22 fire at 1607 18th St. in which five residents of an apartment house died. They were all males, ages 17, 23, 35, 40 and 57. Smoke inhalation was listed as the cause of death in all of those cases.Articles Connexes?