Auto accident not cause of elderly driver's death

Saturday, June 24, 2006

PATTON, Mo. --The death of a 78-year-old man found at the scene of an auto accident in Bollinger County was likely not the result of the crash. Jesse Hale, 78, of Marble, Hill, Mo., was driving a 2001 Saturn on County Road 376 just east of Patton when it ran into a ditch and overturned around 4 p.m. Thursday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol stated.

Hale, who was pronounced dead at 4:41 p.m., died as the result of a pre-existing medical condition and not injuries from the accident, according to Bollinger County Coroner Charles Hutchings. An autopsy performed Friday was inconclusive, so officials were awaiting the results of toxicological testing, he said.

Hale's medical condition was likely the cause of the accident, Hutchings said. A passenger in the vehicle, a 69-year-old woman, was seriously injured in the crash and taken to a Cape Girardeau hospital, the highway patrol said.

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