29 Dead From Cold-Related Exposure In Cook County Since Start Of Season

February 08, 2019 - 9:45 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- At least 29 people have died in Cook County from cold-related exposure since the start of the season, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported on Friday.

Most recently, four people died during the bitter cold snap that brought temperatures in Chicagoland well below zero degrees.

On Jan. 30, a 66-year-old woman died from cold exposure in the Belmont Terrace neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Barbara Sromek, 66, was pronounced dead about 1:20 p.m. in the 3200 block of North Page, where she lived, the medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy conducted Saturday found she died from environmental cold exposure, with cardiovascular diseased and hypothermia serving as contributing factors.

Three other deaths from cold-related causes were reported during the cold streak, authorities said.

The medical examiner’s office has announced additional cold-related deaths from earlier in the season.

Christopher Oedy, 40, was found dead Jan. 2 in the 100 block of North Lower Wacker Drive, the medical examiner’s office said. Oedy died from cocaine and opiate toxicity with cold exposure as a contributing factor. He did not have a listed home address

On Dec. 26, a 44-year-old man died from cold-related causes in the Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Jose Sanchez-Velazquez, who lived in the neighborhood, was found outdoors in the 4900 block of West Montana and later pronounced dead at 12:21 p.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital, the medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy found he died from cold exposure, and chronic ethanolism was noted as a contributing factor.

About two weeks later, a 57-year-old man succumbed to the cold in the South Side Bridgeport community.

Michael Shei was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m. Jan. 10 in the 600 block of West 24th Place, the medical examiner’s office said. Autopsy results released Saturday found he died of cold exposure, with chronic ethanolism contributing. He lived in Bridgeport.

On Nov. 11, Archara Chirat, 75, died in the 600 block of East Avenue in Oak Park, authorities said. She died as a result of probable cold exposure with heart disease as a contributing factor, the medical examiner’s office said.

All three deaths were found to be accidental.

Last fall and winter, 47 deaths were found to be at least partially cold-related between Oct. 1, 2017, and April 1, 2018, according to the medical examine’s office. More than 250 people have died of cold-related causes in Cook County since 2006.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2019. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)