3 more cold-related deaths reported in Cook County, total at 11 for the season

Three more people have died of cold-related causes in Cook County, raising the total number of cold-related deaths in the county this season to 11.

Most recently, James Heenan, 65, died of cold exposure Dec. 19 in the 14300 block of John Humphrey Drive in Orland Park, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Chronic ethanolism and hypertensive cardiovascular disease also played a role in his death. Heenan lived in Orland Park.

The day before, 70-year-old Santiago Piedra was found freezing on Ashland Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets, the medical examiner’s office said. He was taken to the University of Illinois Hospital, where he died of hypothermia due to cold exposure, with organic cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor.

An autopsy conducted on a man who died in early November in Jefferson Park confirmed he also died of cold-related causes.

The man, 58, died of coronary atherosclerosis Nov. 2 in the 6300 block of West Higgins Avenue, the medical examiner’s office said. Cold exposure and chronic alcoholism contributed to his death. Officials declined to identify the man because his next of kin could not be notified.

All three deaths were ruled accidental. Chicago and Orland Park police did not immediately respond to a request for details.

The last death to be confirmed as cold-related happened in the South Loop last month, where 59-year-old David Gilligan was found Nov. 15 underneath a trailer in the 1300 block of South Canal Street, the medical examiner’s office said. Gilligan died of cold exposure with cardiovascular disease and ethanol intoxication as contributing factors.

A Nov. 1 death in Avondale was the first to be classified as cold-related this season. A 58-year-old man was found in the 3600 block of West Belmont Avenue and taken to Community First Medical Center, where he died of coronary atherosclerosis with cold exposure and ethanol intoxication contributing, the medical examiner’s office said.

Before that, two people died of cold-related causes in Logan Square and Oak Forest, though their autopsies didn’t confirm the cause of death until about a month later. In Logan Square, a 70-year-old man died of cardiovascular disease Oct. 27, with cold exposure and ethanol intoxication contributing. The Oak Forest man, 54, died of chronic alcoholism Oct. 22 with cold exposure as a contributing factor, the medical examiner’s office said.

Last season, 60 cold-related deaths were reported in Cook County between Sept. 14, 2018, and May 23, 2019.