How people died last year in Isanti County

Death was a topic of interest at the Feb. 19 Isanti County Board meeting.

Dr. A. Quin Strobl, chief medical examiner for Isanti County, provided a summary of medical examiner involvement in deaths occurring in Isanti County during 2013.

For starters, of the 206 deaths that were investigated last year, 85 were registered hospice and 154 were approved cremations. Forty-six of these incidents required a scene investigation.

Meanwhile, of the 32 cases the Medical Examiner’s Office assumed jurisdiction, 22 autopsies were required; this was an increase of seven over 2012. Strobl’s office also examined one bone, deemed non-human, which had been found by a member of the public.

Nine of the deaths requiring an autopsy were attributed to natural causes. They ranged in age from 34 to 69 years, and nearly all died from a form of heart disease — predominantly atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease.

Motor vehicle-related incidents claimed three people. One was a 46-year-old woman who was the driver of a car that was involved in a three-vehicle crash. A 54-year-old man whose car crossed the center line and collided with a sanitation vehicle was the second. The last was a 13-year-old boy who was truck by a car while riding his bicycle.

“None involved alcohol as far as I know,” Strobl said.

Another man, 32, was found to be under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine when he was struck by a train.

Seven deaths were classified as accidental, non-motor vehicle related. Two of these included a 32-year-old man who was intoxicated with alcohol and drowned after falling out of a boat and a 51-year-old man, with underlying heart disease, who died after using meth.

The others were a male and a female, 56 and 64, respectively, who died in a house fire, while three people, between the ages of 76 and 98, died due to complications of fractures from falls from standing height.

Death by suicide represented an increase of two over the previous year. There were five in all, ranging in age from 38 to 57, and four were male.

Strobl’s office did not investigate a death in Isanti County that was classified as homicide in 2013.

At the end of her report, Strobl thanked commissioners for allowing her to serve the county, work with local law enforcement and contribute to “the ongoing health and safety of your residents.”

She noted a new case management system allows her office to fine tune and better separate the various deaths and causes that occur in Isanti County.

In other action, the board:

• Amended the joint powers agreement associated with the East Central Drug and Violent Offender Task Force to allow the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to be a part of the agreement. The band will have a seat on the board and is willing to provide an investigator to assist in working crimes in this area, Isanti County Chief Deputy Sheriff Chris Caulk said. “They will be a great resource for us,” added Sheriff Bill Guenther.

• Tabled authorization of filling the director of Public Health position, which is anticipated to become vacant this spring with the retirement of Kathy Minkler. Board members agreed to revisit the hiring process after it’s discussed at the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

• Approved, by resolution, the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership to continue administering the rental rehabilitation deferred loan program. Sponsored by the state, the program aims to provide a means for repairing and rehabilitating rental housing units in cities and rural areas across Isanti County.