No answers yet in death of Steamboat woman found dead the morning after a car crash
October 28, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The autopsy conducted in Loveland Monday failed to produce a cause of death for Devan Renee Oates, 35, who was found dead in her Steamboat Springs home Oct. 25, the morning after she was involved in an automobile accident on South Lincoln Avenue.
"There was no evidence she died as a result of any injury (sustained) in the accident," Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said. "It was something else. We don't know what until we do a," toxicology test.
Those results aren't likely to come for up to eight weeks.
Police believe Oates was under the influence of prescription drugs that had been prescribed to her when she turned in front of an oncoming vehicle at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Anglers Drive, causing the accident. Oates complained of chest pains at the scene, and she suffered a leg injury. Ryg told Steamboat Today on Oct. 25 that she sustained a concussion in the collision.
On Monday, Ryg said the autopsy did not indicate any head injuries.
"There was not a contusion that would lead to blood on the brain," he said. "Her leg injury was superficial."
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The autopsy did rule out some other possible causes of death.
"It ruled out heart attack, it ruled out a stroke, an embolism or blood clots," Ryg said.
The medical examiner also was unable to determine a time of death, according to Ryg, who did not attend the autopsy. Detectives from the Steamboat Springs Police Department were in attendance, however.
Oates was driving west on South Lincoln Avenue with her juvenile son in a Ford Explorer at 5 p.m. last Thursday when she turned left onto Anglers Drive and failed to yield to an oncoming minivan, according to Steamboat Police Sgt. John McCartin. Oates' vehicle was struck broadside and rolled.
Firefighters had to extricate Oates from the Explorer. She was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center where she submitted to a blood draw so that toxicology tests could be done, according to police. She was released from the hospital later on the night of the crash.
Oates' son and a person traveling in the minivan were also taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center as a precaution.
The next morning, Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters were called at about 7:10 a.m. to Oates’ home at the Hillside Village Apartments off Tamarack Drive where she was pronounced dead.
McCartin said Oates, who acknowledged to him that she had taken prescription drugs, was issued a summons to appear in court. She was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, careless driving and not restraining her son in a car seat.