Coroner releases annual report

The percentage of deaths investigated by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office in 2009 fell slightly from the previous two years, the office said in its annual report.

In 2009, 31.8 percent of deaths were investigated by the coroner’s office, down from 37 percent in 2008 and 34 percent in 2007.

The decrease reflects fewer people who died “suddenly and unexpectedly or from a violent manner,” Coroner Dean Havlik said.

Havlik released his annual report Monday.

In 2009, there were 1,430 deaths in Mesa County, or 0.83 percent of the population. Of those deaths, 455 were investigated and the coroner’s office conducted 139 post-mortem examinations.

Of the deaths the coroner’s office investigated, 269 of the decedents were male and 185 female. The sex of one was unknown, the coroner’s office having only bone to examine.

The ratio of male-to-female deaths investigated by his office appears to be similar to other places, Havlik said.

“Men are more likely to be involved in violent deaths, such as homicides, suicides and accidents,” Havlik said. “Homicides and suicides in particular are much more common in males compared to females. Also, men usually die younger than woman, so even in the natural category of deaths, men seem to predominate.”

In 2009, 23 people died in motor-vehicle collisions, 21 from falls and 11 from drug intoxication, the report said.

Collisions involving pedestrians and motor vehicles claimed five lives, and three died in bicycle accidents. Other causes of death included two drownings, two in fires, two related to medical therapy, one related to a skateboard accident and one in which a falling tree killed an individual, the report said.

The report also noted that the most fatal months were November and December. In each of those months, 11.2 percent of all deaths in Mesa County occurred. September had the lowest rate, with 4.2 percent of all deaths, the report said.

Monday was the most lethal day of the week, with 16.3 percent of deaths, just ahead of Sunday, with 16 percent.

Tuesday and Wednesday were the least lethal, with 12.7 percent of all deaths occurring on each of those days, the report said.


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