A Hanover firefighter’s cause of death was changed from a coronary event to trauma from the crash he was in while responding to a fire in March, the York County Coroner’s Office said.
Although the coroner initially said the death of Earl Shoemaker, 68, was not caused by injuries from the March 12 crash, the York County Coronerreported Friday that after the autopsy, the pathology team determined that Shoemaker’s death was accidental, not natural.
“On rare occasions they change their mind, and that’s what happened in this case,” York County Coroner Pam Gay said Saturday.
Shoemaker had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which Gay said was a contributing factor in his death, but not the cause.
“He had some blockages in his vessels just like a lot of people do,” Gay said.
Both Shoemaker’s heart condition and the blunt force trauma played a role in his death, but the pathologist felt strongly the trauma “started off this chain of events that led to his death,” Gay said.
Shoemaker was alive when the crash occurred, Gay said.
THE EVENING SUN
Coroner: Hanover firefighter died from coronary event
Shoemaker was taken to Hanover Hospital after the incident, but died around 10:25 that morning, according to the York County Coroner’s Office.
Shoemaker, a 43-year member of Hanover’s Eagle Fire Company No. 2, was responding to a house fire along Pumping Station Road in West Manheim Township. He was driving the Hanover Fire Department’s Air 46 unit when his vehicle went off Brunswick Drive and into a field. The crash occurred about a mile from the scene.
Changing the cause of death could reopen the investigation by West Manheim Township police, Gay said. West Manheim Township Police Department could not be reached Saturday.