A woman who died after falling face-first into a recycling bin and wasn't noticed until her husband came from work had gotten stuck in a position in which she couldn't breathe, a coroner said.
Sheila Decoster, 62, was likely inside the bin for several hours before she was found Friday, said Lucas County Deputy Coroner Diane Barnett. The woman's husband saw her legs sticking out of the 64-gallon container that sits alongside their porch.
"I just happened to look to the left and, honestly, thought it was a dummy," Richard Decoster told The Blade newspaper of Toledo (http://bit.ly/oucrqD). "I shook her leg and called her name, and I knew she was gone."
The couple, married for 43 years, kept their recycling and trash bins next to their porch, which does not have a railing. Investigators said it looked like Sheila Decoster was standing on her porch when she leaned over, lifted the lid on the bin and fell inside.
Decoster died from positional asphyxia, which means she couldn't breathe because of the way she stuck, Barnett said.
Her husband said she had several medical issues, including dizzy spells and an aneurism on her brain, which could explain why she fell. She also had back problems and a recent knee-replacement surgery.
There were many complaints about the large recycling bins when they were distributed two years ago. Residents said they were too big and difficult to move, especially for older and disabled people.
"It's tragic, but I think it's definitely an extreme example," said city spokeswoman Jen Sorgenfrei.
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/