Autopsy in Taser case in finally released|Report: Craig Burdine died from drug use

FREMONT — An Oak Harbor man who was shocked with a Taser three times had extensive bruising and abrasions.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



An Oak Harbor man who was shocked with a Taser three times had extensive bruising and abrasions to his body at the time of his death, according to the final autopsy report.

Craig Burdine, 37, died Aug. 11, 2007, after he fought with police and sheriff's deputies following his arrest. The initial autopsy report indicated Burdine died from a combination of drugs and his actions resulting from that drug use.

Sandusky County Coroner Dr. John Wukie signed Burdine's death certificate Friday, and the final autopsy report was released Monday. The report reveals Burdine sustained trauma to his extremities.

The areas of Burdine's body covered with cuts and bruises included his scalp, right ear and side of the head, left cheek, both lips, abdomen and back.

"The officers at the jail were concerned he had a scrape on the shoulder," Wukie said.

The autopsy report also mentioned noticeable blood pooling in Burdine's muscles and tissues, along with broken cartilage in his nasal cavity.

"He had a variety of episodes throughout the night," Wukie said. "Identifying which one of those abrasions happened when is impossible."

Burdine stopped breathing after he was loaded into an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at Fremont Memorial Hospital.

The incident began when Burdine "launched onto" a 32-year-old Fremont man during a party at a home on Sycamore Street in Fremont, according to a police report. Burdine then ran "into a few fences, damaged some vehicles and houses," police said.

Burdine's body only had one marking that appeared to be from a Taser, and Wukie could not specify where the marking was. Burdine was shocked three times with the weapon -- twice in his legs and once in the back.

Wukie said a person who dies because of a Taser would immediately become unresponsive, which did not happen in Burdine's case.

Wukie refused to clarify specific medical terminology and conclusions in the report.

"I told his father he would likely die someday from his drug-induced delirium," he said.

Wukie said he treated Burdine before but would not reveal any other details surrounding the care.

"It's a shame that it's happened," Wukie said. "I talked before with his father that this could happen if he didn't deal with his substance abuse, and it did."

Burdine's father previously said his son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness. According to Wukie, drugs including amphetamines and marijuana accelerated Burdine's pre-existing condition.

"This guy had a lot of abnormal activity, behavioral stuff," he said. "He gets in a very wild state."

Sheriff David Gangwer previously told the Register a report from an internal investigation of the incident would be released pending the release of the autopsy report.

Gangwer is out of the office until Friday. He deferred all inquiries to Chief Deputy Bruce Hirt, who said the sheriff would handle the Burdine report when he returned to work.

Burdine's parents declined to comment on Monday.