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Published: Wednesday, 8/15/2007

Drugs found in Perrysburg man killed on job

An ironworker killed in an accident at a Toledo Public Schools construction site last month had drugs and alcohol in his system at the time, the Lucas County Coroner's Office said yesterday.

An autopsy revealed Walter Minarik, 50, of Perrysburg, known to many as Joe, had hydrocodone in his system at the time of the July 9 accident at the Westfield Elementary School project.

Hydrocodone is a synthetic drug usually used to treat pain and is also found in cough syrups, said Dr. Diane Barnett, a deputy county coroner.

Tests also showed Mr. Minarik's blood-alcohol level was 0.07 percent, which is just under Ohio's legal intoxication level of 0.08, the deputy coroner said.

Dr. Barnett said the ironworker's death was ruled an accident, but the combination of drugs and alcohol in his system may have contributed to the accident.

Mr. Minarik, a subcontractor for Willson Builders Inc., is believed to have made an unexpected move along the crane's deck, out of its operator's view, while helping dismantle the crane.

He became pinned between the crane's rear and its counterweights for a few seconds as the machine turned, until the crane's operator, whose name was not released, felt something unusual and immediately reacted. Mr. Minarik was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

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