RIFLE — Anthony Green, a 37-year-old Rifle man who fell over dead at the corner of Third Street and Railroad on Aug. 22, died accidentally of “methamphetamine intoxication,” according to an autopsy report released on Tuesday by the Garfield County Coroner’s Office.
Green officially was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. at the Grand River Hospital in Rifle, after police responded shortly after midnight to reports of a man screaming and in obvious distress at the intersection.
The post-mortem report on Green’s death, written by forensic pathologist Robert Kurtzman of Grand Junction and dated Sept. 4, reported that Green’s body showed signs of scrapes and bruises “consistent with a fall,” but no other indications of trauma and no internal injuries related to the scrapes and bruises.
But, according to the report, “the decedent may have been engaged in a physical altercation associated with a drug transaction several blocks away, ran from the scene [of the drug deal] and collapsed.”
The post-mortem toxicology analysis, according to the coroner’s report, “revealed a high methamphetamine level along [with] evidence of marijuana and alcohol use.”
In a subsequent statement, the report noted that “methamphetamine is known to cause sudden death and abnormal behavior.”
Kurtzman also remarked that pulmonary edema, or the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, also “is a condition that may occur in a variety of circumstances including some forms of drug intoxication.”
In conclusion, Kurtzman declared, “The intoxication is most likely the unintentional consequence of habitual drug abuse and therefore [the manner of death is] accidental.”
But, he added, “If additional information becomes available the manner of death may be reclassified.”
Rifle Police Chief John Dyer confirmed that his department continues to investigate the matter, and that officers learned of an argument of some sort “about a block away” shortly before Green appeared at the intersection.
“I can’t call it a fight at this point,” the chief said, but he agreed with Kurtzman’s assessment that Green may have run from the scene of the altercation and collapsed at the intersection.
“That exertion alone may have contributed, along with the meth, to his collapse,” the chief remarked.