Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Steamboat Springs James Slawinski, a 40-year-old Steamboat Springs man, was found dead a few feet from the railroad tracks off Pine Grove Road Tuesday morning just after 10 a.m. by two railroad workers who were plowing the tracks.
Police investigators were unsure of exactly how the victim died.
Investigators processed the scene but said there were no immediate indications of trauma on the body. While they must wait for an autopsy to be certain, Detective Dave Kleiber of the Steamboat Springs Police Department said the body did not look to have been hit by a train and there was no blood at the scene.
Investigators found a coat near the body at the scene but said there are no major pieces of evidence to indicate precisely what happened. They will now attempt to retrace Slawinski's steps before he died.
Coroner Doug Allen has ordered an autopsy and a toxicology test, which may not be complete until Friday or Saturday.
Slawinski's driver's license indicated he lived in Fish Creek Trailer Park.
One of the railroad workers went into Ski Country Kitchens to call the police upon finding the body. Mike Hirshman and Michael Arce, two cross-trained firefighter/medical personnel, came to the scene in an ambulance but said the man was dead before they got there and turned the case over to the police.
Pua Utu of the Police Department was the first investigator on the scene and was later joined by Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing and detectives Kleiber and Robert DelValle.
Fiebing said the body may have been at the spot in the snow all night.
"It was not obvious what happened," Fiebing said. "They're trying to unravel it."