Medical examiner: Deaths up in 2011

Dr. A. Quinn Strobl, medical examiner for Mille Lacs County, reported to county commissioners at their Feb. 7 meeting that there was an 11 percent increase in county deaths investigated in 2011.

Strobl told commissioners her office investigated 157 deaths last year, 15 more than in 2010.

Thirty percent (47) of the deaths required a scene investigation, jurisdiction was assumed in 33 cases and 22 autopsies were performed.

Six of the deaths were due to motor vehicle-related crashes, one with an unusual circumstance.

A person injured in a 1965 accident in Anoka County, in which that person was paralyzed, died from complications from that accident.

There were three motor vehicle deaths in Mille Lacs County in both 2010 and 2009.

Those killed in the vehicle accidents last year ranged in age from 12 to 72.

“Only the 72-year-old was wearing a seat belt,” Strobl told commissioners.

Separate fatal accidents involved passengers ages 20 and 32 who were intoxicated with alcohol, and one involved a 32-year-old intoxicated with methamphetamine.

There have been 23 deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents the past five years in the county – 10 in Onamia, 4 in Princeton and 3 in Milaca.

Eight deaths resulted from accidents which were non motor vehicle-related.

Four, with ages ranging from 35 to 40, died due to drug use. All involved use of illicit drugs that included meth, cocaine and heroin. Two also involved misuse of prescription narcotics.

Two of the accidental deaths were from falls by people 87 and 99 years old.

There were two suicides in the county, both from gunshot wounds. Alcohol was involved in one of those incidents.

There were no homicides in Mille Lacs County in 2011.

Strobl noted that  of the 157 deaths her office investigated, cremations were approved in 118 of them. That number has increased, she said.

Dr. Strobl is the chief medical examiner, and has been since 2008,  with Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, Ramsey, Minn. Midwest fulfills medical examiner duties for nine counties.