Man’s death ruled accidental after loved ones couldn’t get through to 911

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CLEVELAND, Ohio-- The FOX 8 I-Team has learned the cause of death for a man who died after loved ones couldn’t get through to Cleveland 9-1-1, and the man’s fiancé finally drove to get help.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office says Gary Pollard, Jr. died from a combination of heroin, fentanyl, ethanol and other drugs. The death has been ruled accidental.

The family was surprised by those findings and still wonders if the 9-1-1 breakdown played a role.

In May, some of Pollard’s loved ones say they couldn’t get him to respond, and they couldn’t get through to Cleveland 9-1-1 to send an ambulance to East 61st. So a woman drove to a neighborhood fire station and banged on a door to get help.

The I-Team found the city’s 9-1-1 system went down for more than an hour that night, and the back-up didn’t immediately kick in either.

Now the medical examiner has found Pollard died from a combination of drugs, but it’s still not clear if the 9-1-1 problem was a factor.

The medical examiner’s office says it generally does not address questions such as that.

Meantime, Cuyahoga County leaders say they have recently overseen upgrades to the 9-1-1 system so that the system has more back-ups and an ability to take in more calls.

A relative of Gary Pollard, Jr. says the family is hoping to learn more from city officials about what happened the night the system went down, and the family is considering a lawsuit.

Read more here.

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