Man dead following drunken crash

LAKE PLACID - A Lake Placid man was pronounced dead last week after apparently causing a two-car collision.

According to New York State Police, Coleman T. Morford, 37, was traveling east on Mill Pond Drive Jan. 5 when he rounded a curve and crossed into the westbound lane some time around 7:45 p.m.

Morford's 2001 Ford pickup truck struck a second vehicle being driven by Jeremiah F. Strack, 71, also of Lake Placid, who was traveling west at the time. The two vehicles collided head-on.

"Investigation at the scene revealed there had been no apparent attemp by Morford to brake or avoid the collision," said police in a press release. The case is being handled by BCI Senior Investigator Robert Lawyer.

Strack was transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

Morford was brought to Adirondack Medical Center's facility in Lake Placid, where he was pronounced dead by Physicians Assistant Gary Nye.

Adirondack Medical Center's Dr. C. Francis Varga determined in an autopsy that Morford had not suffered any life-threatening injuries as a result of the accident. Instead, the cause of death was found to be "Hemmorrhagic pulmonary edema secondary to aspiration of gastric contents as a result of acute alcohol intoxication."

In other words, Morford was highly intoxicated at the time of the crash and choked to death on his own vomit.

Essex County Coroner Walter Marvin ruled Morford's death to be accidental.

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