Indiana Coroner Showed Up At Crime Scene Drunk, Police Say

indiana coroner drunk

When Tamara Vangundy showed up at a crime scene early Thursday morning in suburban Indianapolis, she was stumbling and swaying and reeked of alcohol, police say.

The coroner for Hancock County, Ind., suspected of being drunk, was asked to take a sobriety test, which she failed. Police then took her to the county jail, where a breathalyzer test revealed that she had a blood-alcohol content of .16 -- twice the state's legal limit, Indianapolis TV station WISH reports.

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Vangundy, who posted bond Thursday and was due in court Friday, faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and official misconduct, according to court documents.

"It was just a poor decision," WSBT-TV in Mishawaka quotes Vangundy as saying, as she was being booked into the jail.

According to police, Vangundy, 49, admitted to consuming 18 ounces of wine -- about three-quarters of a typical bottle of wine -- but stopped at 8:30 p.m the previous evening. She drove to the scene of the apparent suicide in her own vehicle, because she said that she thought she might be too intoxicated to drive the county-owned van, according to reports.

"[Vangundy] didn't even need to be there," The Indianapolis Star reports Hancock County Sheriff Mike Shepherd as saying. A deputy coroner arrived before she did and had already performed necessary duties at the death investigation.

"She should have just stayed home," Shepherd said. "If you've even had that first drink, don't take that chance."

According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, gathered in 2006, about 15 percent of Americans -- or nearly 20 million people -- are affected in some way by alcohol while on the job. The data showed that nearly 2 percent of workers drank before work, while 1.7 percent were under the influence of alcohol.

Seven percent consumed alcohol during the workday, and nearly 10 percent worked with a hangover.

Data from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration indicate that as many as 20 percent of workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs.

The agency notes that industries with the highest rates of drug use are the same as those at a high risk for occupational injuries, such as construction, mining, manufacturing and wholesale.

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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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No evidence that she presents should ever be accepted in a court of law.

January 21 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can bet if it was a COP who showed up drunk, nobody would have said a word, GUARANTEED!

May 07 2012 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd have to be drunk to be a coroner!

May 07 2012 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

She was drunk, not thinking straight, and believed only she Tamara Vangundy could declare the victim dead.

May 05 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

of course she can drink on her own time. Most cities have tech's who could tag and bag for her then she could examine body in AM

May 05 2012 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

randinoel..reread the article again..According to police, Vangundy, 49, admitted to consuming 18 ounces of wine -- about three-quarters of a typical bottle of wine -- but stopped at 8:30 p.m the previous evening.

May 05 2012 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There could have been some other fatalities due to this....driving drunk is NOT to be done ...No one, NEVER!!! She's bored with her job. Fire her and check her in at the nearest rehab center. Some people don't appreciate what they have until they lose it all. If you work at a job, take that responsibility seriously or quit.....there are LOTS of others who are looking for work!!!!!

May 05 2012 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James G. Banks

Some jobs need more than one accountable person so as not to have this happen. On, the same token, being an alcoholic does not make it acceptable to always being the one not on call. I don't drink due to the fact that I am always on call. It might stink, but that is the job requirement. If you choose the job, you need to accept the limitations of your personal lifestyle that the job might constitute.

May 05 2012 at 12:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's thirsty Thursday and she had about what, 2-3 glasses of wine? She was responsible enough to show to work, and was smart enough to use her own car, not jepordizing the company van, so kudos for that. of course, dont drink and drive, but look at the good she has done so far.

May 05 2012 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to randinoel's comment

Yeah/???? She jeopardized the lives of each person on the highway or street that night....and that's just too much for all of us to handle. The article did not say how much she said she was over the legal limit. That' s WAY too much to drink. You don't have to be a raving drunk to kill!! My son killed himself the night he had a "few beers" and then drove. He could have killed another whole family. But "look at the good He/she has done so far." BUWWSHIT" Get out of DENIAL, please!!!!!!

May 05 2012 at 12:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

She SAYS she had two or three glasses of wine. Her blood alcohol level says she had a LOT more than 3 glasses of wine, and she most likely kept drinking way past the time she claimed she stopped.
Intoxicated people do NOT make rational decisions. They are not nearly as smart as they feel when they're drunk. NOBODY is immune from the effects alcoholic beverages have on the human body. Some have built a tolerance to it and can hide the effects better than others, but the booze still gets you. Alcoholic beverages are stupidity in a bottle. The more you drink, the more stupid you become.

Keep telling yourself that BEFORE you start drinking.

May 05 2012 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so you are saying that when you are off, your not? She chose wrong to respond at all, but was doing it for the right cause. Not taking into account what would happen to her. Once again, when you are off, You are off!!

May 05 2012 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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