Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Alcohol deemed factor in Hunt death

Blood-alcohol nearly 4 times the legal limit

Express Staff Writer

Gary Hunt

The Blaine County coroner has determined that alcohol was a "contributing factor" in the vehicle death earlier this month of Hailey resident Gary Hunt.

Coroner Russell Mikel said Tuesday that Hunt's blood-alcohol level following the accident was .29, nearly four times the legal driving limit of .08.

Mikel said Hunt's family has been notified of the test results.

"I know nobody's going to feel good about it, but it's best to tell what really happened," Mikel said.

Hunt, 46, was pronounced dead at about 4 a.m. Saturday, May 10, while being moved by emergency helicopter from St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center to a trauma center in Boise. He was transported to St. Luke's following a one-vehicle crash around midnight May 9 on state Highway 75 less than a mile north of East Fork Road.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reported that Hunt was northbound when he lost control of his silver-and-gray 2003 GMC Yukon, which crossed the center line and the southbound lane, coasted on the west shoulder for about 300 feet, collided with a three-pole fence in two different places and came to rest in a pasture west of the highway.

Emergency personnel reported that Hunt was struck by fence rails that crashed through the front window of the vehicle.

Mikel earlier listed the cause of death as "multiple trauma to the abdomen and chest."

"The high levels of alcohol from the blood-alcohol test was a contributing factor to the cause of the accident," Mikel said Tuesday.

Hunt was the owner of Iconoclast Books, which has stores in Ketchum and Sun Valley.

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