A year ago, 44-year-old Mrs. Michele Dana, wife of former Boardman Center Middle School teacher and Boardman HS freshmen boys basketball coach, Jay Dana, suddenly died at her home at 145 Canterbury, Firestone Farms in Columbiana on Christmas Day, 2010.
Mr. and Mrs. Dana were married Aug. 8, 2008.
In a frantic, Christmas morning call to the Columbiana Police Department, Mr. Dana told the dispatcher, “We were doing a drinking game last night, we went to sleep and woke up...I can’t get her to wake up.”
Nine months after Mrs. Dana’s death, on Sept. 25, 2011 Columbiana Coroner Dr. William A. Graham Jr. ruled that Mrs. Dana died of acute intoxication by the combined effects of ethanol (alcohol) and pseudoepherine.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), as well as the Columbiana Police Department have both investigated the death and law enforcement sources from two agencies have confirmed toxicology tests completed following Mrs. Dana’s death indicate her blood/alcohol level could have been as high as .40, an extremely high, if not lethal level of alcohol.
Last Friday, Chief Tim Gladis, of Columbiana, told The Boardman News his department’s investigation into the death included some claims that Mrs. Dana and her husband had consumed far less than a fifth of liquor when they were reportedly playing ‘the drinking game’ on Christmas Eve night, after leaving a holiday party at the home of Mrs. Dana’s relatives near Gibsonia, Pa., around 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., according to a family member.
“The disparity [in what we were told they drank] when compared to the amount of alcohol in the blood [listed on the death certificate] would be significant,” Chief Gladis said, adding his department “is pretty much at a dead end” in the their investigation into Mrs. Dana’s death.
Chief Gladis also indicated following Mrs. Dana’s death, her home on Centerbury had been searched by law enforcement authorities and “nothing showed-up.”
The report of the Columbiana County Coroner’s Office indicates Mrs. Dana’s lifeless body was first found at 9:20 a.m. on Christmas Day. Three minutes later, according to Chief Gladis, Mr. Dana made his call for the Columbiana Police Department.
Columbiana EMS, according to the coroner’s report, arrived at the Dana’s home at 9:32 p.m. on Christmas Day.
The coroner’s report also indicates that Mrs. Dana was last seen alive in the early morning hours of Christmas Day, at 1:00 a.m.
She died at 2:00 a.m., according to the coroner.
Mr. Dana said in his 9-1-1 call that he and his wife went to sleep after the drinking game.
Mrs. Dana, according to the coroner’s office, was found naked, on her back, on the floor of a bathroom.
“[She] was drinking with her husband last night. Wine and vodka shots. Husband awoke this morning to find her laying on the floor beside him unresponsive,” Dr. Graham wrote. The coroner’s notation ends stating Mr. Dana “called neighbors and 9-1-1 for help.”
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