Walla Walla man's death ruled accidental

Police still seek information about events leading up to Allen Hadler's fall into Mill Creek last month.

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WALLA WALLA -- The death of a local man who fell into the downtown channel has been ruled accidental by the medical examiner's office that examined him. But local law enforcement is still investigating the circumstances that led to his fall.

Allen Hadler, 44, died Nov. 17 at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, after being found injured in the Mill Creek channel that runs downtown on Nov. 6.

Hadler apparently fell near the site of bridge work along the channel, near Palouse and Main streets. He was found in the channel about 10:30 p.m. after reports from people who heard someone in distress.

Hadler was found with head injuries as well as bruises and scrapes, said city police Detective Sgt. Matt Wood. Hadler was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Sacred Heart. An official with the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office said this week that Hadler died from complications brought on by the blunt impact, and classified the death as accidental.

The formal cause of death is a mouthful: "bilateral pulmonary artery thromboembolism, due to bilateral lower extremity deep venous thrombosis, due to decreased mobility, due to blunt impact," the official said.

But rumors that Hadler may have been pushed or attacked has prompted the Walla Walla Police Department to continue investigating. Particularly, detectives are trying to piece together where Hadler may have been prior to the fall, and who he may have been in contact with.

Sgt. Matt Wood said that some allegations, including that Hadler was beaten with bats, or had been robbed of recent lottery winnings, didn't add up.

Wood said his department is waiting for toxicology results to see if Hadler was under the influence at the time of the fall.

Wood noted that Hadler's right eye was destroyed in a vehicle collision in 1982, which led him to wear an eye-patch. Hadler also had poor visibility in his left eye.

"We don't know how or why yet, but I think his disabilities, and the time of night, and the construction site, all added up to something that was unfortunate," Wood said.

Anyone who may have information on Hadler's whereabouts on Nov. 6 should contact police at 527-4434.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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