By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Winter Storm Ion, which has dumped about a foot of snow on most of the state and encased the region in frigid, subzero temperatures for two days, has already been determined to be responsible for two deaths in Madison County.
Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay announced Tuesday that the body of 23-year-old Anderson resident Jordan Michael Hutton was found collapsed in the snow about 3 p.m. in the 2800 block of North County Road 350 West. Dunnichay said the cause of death was definitely weather-related.
“He last spoke with family members Sunday night. He left home in a car, which left the road for an unexplained reason, and was found on Cross Street. He was probably trying to walk back home and succumbed to the cold,” Dunnichay said.
Dunnichay said an autopsy cannot be done for at least two days, but that Hutton definitely died because of exposure to the cold.
“We estimate he had been exposed to the elements for 30 to 36 hours,” she said.
Hutton was the second storm-related death in the county since Sunday. The combination of the heavy snow and cold temperatures was also blamed for the death of 66-year-old David Garrett, who collapsed while shoveling snow. The Anderson man went outside Sunday night, and after some time, was found by his wife in the snow. He was transported to Community Hospital and pronounced dead of a heart-related issue at 6:17 p.m., according to Dunnichay.
“It was early in the evening, so it wasn’t so much the temperature as the weight of the snow and the strain on his heart,” Dunnichay said. “Unless you’re in good shape, it’s not the safest thing to be done. It’s heavier than most people think, and it was still below freezing, so that puts an extra strain on your respiratory system. I’d say it was definitely weather-related.”
A third death isn’t believed to be directly related to the weather. On Sunday, 45-year-old David Hurd of Anderson was found on a back porch enclosure at his home in the 2000 block of Fletcher Street. While the porch was cold because of the outside temperatures, Dunnichay said the death was ruled natural because Hurd had a deadly heart attack before anything weather-related could happen.
Since the start of the storm, the emergency room at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital has been very busy, said St. Vincent spokeswoman Marlene Carey. The hospital has handled 11 fall injuries and one cardiac incident since the start of the storm.
In the wake of the deaths, county officials are urging residents to exercise caution, even as temperatures rise throughout the week. Madison County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Todd Harmeson said anyone who shovels snow should take regular breaks, and if you don’t need to be outside, you shouldn’t be.
Anderson Police Department spokesman Joel Sandefur said that if you go outside for any reason, you should let someone else know so they can check on you quickly.
“Even if you’re just going across the street, make sure someone knows you’re out in case you fall or get hurt. Pace yourself outside,” Sandefur said.
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