Three alcohol toxicity deaths confirmed locally

May 9, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Other substances also were involved in one of the cases.

Three people died of alcohol poisoning in Fremont County last month according to records from the Fremont County Coroner's Office.

"We get a certain number of those every year, (but) this seems to be a clump," Coroner Mark Stratmoen said Thursday. "If it starts to become real frequent then it might be time for another public health release on it."

All three incidents were determined to be accidents.

The most recent case was April 27, when Ivan J. Bear, 44, of Riverton, was found unresponsive at about 5:20 p.m. in Riverton.

Stratmoen said Bear was transported to the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, where he died.

His cause of death is listed as severe metabolic acidosis due to ethanol toxicity.

Ten days earlier, Johann Legend-Tillman, 24, of Boulder Flats, died of acute alcohol intoxication on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Toxicology shows his blood-alcohol content was .316 at the time of his death April 17. He also had 30 nanograms per milliliter of Delta-9Carboxy THC and 14 ng/ml of Delta-9 THC in his system.

Stratmoen said the cannabis likely contributed to Legend-Tillman's death.

"It's almost three times what is considered impaired, so it's contributory," he said Thursday. "How it contributes I'm not going to say, just because that's under dispute."

No fatal level of cannabis intoxication has been officially determined, Stratmoen explained. Still, the amount of THC in a person's system can be high enough to be considered relevant, if not directly related, to a death.

Dominic Fightingbear, 40, died April 3 in Riverton. The call came in at about 3 p.m. that day, and his time of death is listed as 3:45 p.m. Records state he died of respiratory failure due to acute ethanol toxicity. His BAC was .426 at the time of his death.

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