Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

August 15, 2013

M.E. amends autopsy in PK Lake drowning

High concentrations of carbon monoxide and alcohol found in Lindsey Culver’s body

By CLINT FOSTER

POSSUM KINGDOM LAKE – Drowning is always a danger when spending any amount of time in a large, deep body of water, but new details regarding the drowning of Lindsey Culver, 27, at Possum Kingdom Lake suggest other factors contributed to make this danger all the more apparent.

According to Palo Pinto County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Shawn Humphries, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner issued an amendment to Culver’s autopsy based on the toxicology report. The M.E. found a significant concentration of carbon monoxide (44 percent) in Culver’s blood, as well as three-times the legal limit of alcohol.

Drowning still stands as the primary cause of death, but the M.E. believes that both of these substances were major contributing factors in Culver’s death, too.

Culver was reportedly swimming from a boat in PK Lake on Independence Day weekend when she was reported missing on Saturday, July 6, just minutes before the traditional Hell’s Gate fireworks show. Brazos River Authority Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens shut down the event to conduct a search. They recovered the Lubbock resident’s body from 25-to-35-feet of water using side-scan sonar on the afternoon of Sunday, July 7.

Humphries said the new results from the toxicology report could indicate that the toxins in Culver’s system might have prevented her from full use of all of her faculties to keep from drowning. Typically, any concentration of carbon monoxide more than 30 percent in someone’s body becomes toxic, with escalating symptoms based on concentration from headaches and dizziness to unconsciousness and death. The amount of carbon monoxide in Culver’s system was not enough to be fatal, according to Humphries, but would have certainly effected her sobriety.

“This was something that we haven’t encountered before,” Humphries said. “There’s been some national research that more drownings are attributed to factors of this carbon monoxide due to boat exhaust. The boat exhaust sits on top of the water for a while, so folks that are in a concentrated area can maybe get more effects than normal. In lake drownings, apparently, that’s a trend.”

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