Benton Co. Coroner's Office dealing with backlog of toxicology r - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton Co. Coroner's Office dealing with backlog of toxicology reports

Posted: Updated:

BENTON COUNTY, WA - The Benton County Coroner's Office is dealing with a backlog of toxicology reports, with some results taking up to three months to come back.

Whether the death was drug-related or involved alcohol, the backlog of toxicology reports are partially due to the crime lab being short-staffed.

Although they have a whiteboard with multiple names - adults to children - whose families await a toxicology report, the Benton County Coroner's Office says that it's typical to tell these families that the report will take several weeks. But now, there are people on the board who have not received a report for months.

"It's very frustrating," said William Leach, Deputy Coroner for Benton County. "For us to have to talk parents, family members, or loved ones. Over and over and tell them the same story. 'It's not back yet, it's not back yet.' That reflects poorly on our office, and the county as a whole, and the state as a whole, if we can't get that closure from families when it's needed."

Another cause of the backlog could be that the agencies are drawing more blood. Leach says that it could be that there may be more drugs and marijuana involved in car accidents and DUIs.

Leach adds that the toxicology lab has received emergency funding from the state, which will be used to hire a technician and hopefully help keep the backlog taken care of.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Tri-CitiesTri-Cities NewsMore>>

  • Two local fire chiefs share personal stories in support of proposed bond, levy

    Two local fire chiefs share personal stories in support of proposed bond, levy

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 8:50 PM EDT2018-07-18 00:50:36 GMT

    Two fire chiefs are coming forward to talk about how emergency services have impacted their lives personally.

    More >>

    Two fire chiefs are coming forward to talk about how emergency services have impacted their lives personally.

    More >>
  • Help Center Monday: Mental health

    Help Center Monday: Mental health

    Monday, July 16 2018 8:46 PM EDT2018-07-17 00:46:33 GMT

    For this week's help center, we had several specialists come in to answer your questions about mental health. 

    More >>

    For this week's help center, we had several specialists come in to answer your questions about mental health. 

    More >>
  • House approves Newhouse bill honoring fallen Richland Marine

    House approves Newhouse bill honoring fallen Richland Marine

    Monday, July 16 2018 5:52 PM EDT2018-07-16 21:52:57 GMT

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation H.R. 5504, to designate the U.S. Postal Service facility at 4801 West Van Giesen Street in West Richland, Washington as the “Sergeant Dietrich Schmieman Post Office.” 

    More >>

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation H.R. 5504, to designate the U.S. Postal Service facility at 4801 West Van Giesen Street in West Richland, Washington as the “Sergeant Dietrich Schmieman Post Office.” 

    More >>