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Autopsy confirms Tampa woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning

TAMPA — Kashaunda Joyner woke up for work Thursday and felt nauseous. She tried to call 911, but kept passing out, records show.

She finally got through at 9:27 a.m., but when authorities arrived, Joyner's roommate, Rebecca Hawk, didn't appear to have a heartbeat.

On Friday, authorities confirmed Hawk, 23, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Medical Examiner's report says she died after accidentally inhaling motor vehicle exhaust.

That's what police suspected after they discovered that Hawk's neighbor, Andrew Grywalski, 22, left a car running in a garage adjacent to Hawk's bedroom. It had been running for about 11 hours, police said.

Joyner, 20, also was taken to the hospital Thursday. On Friday, she was resting at her mother's home.

Police are waiting for a written report of Hawk's autopsy, which detectives want to review before conferring with the State Attorney's Office about whether charges against Andrew Grywalski are appropriate.

Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said it's too early to say whether the incident was an accident or if charges are likely. State Attorney's Office spokesman Mark Cox said he couldn't comment on the case while it's still in detectives' hands.

Each year, more than 400 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Just last month, three people in Palm Harbor were rushed to local hospitals with carbon-monoxide poisoning after a car was left running in a closed garage. A 60-year-old man, 50-year-old woman and her minor daughter all survived.

Several government agencies, including the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Fire Administration, recommend that homeowners install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

Some models sell for as little as $12. In many states, however, they're not required.

In Florida, detectors are required within 10 feet of sleeping areas on post-July, 2008 construction on buildings with gas-burning appliances.

The Vista Grande at Tampa Palms apartments were built in 2002, and this week the Tampa Fire Department said the complex appeared to be up to code.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

Autopsy confirms Tampa woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 3:56pm]
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