Turton Autopsy Reveals Alcohol Intoxication

Posted February 11, 2011 at 4:28pm

Correction Appended

Ashley Turton, a well-known lobbyist found dead in her burning car Jan. 10, died from “inhalation of products of combustion and thermal burns,” according to autopsy results released by the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Friday.

The report said Turton had “acute alcohol intoxication” at the time of death.

Although homicide detectives were called to the scene, the manner of death was ruled an accident.

Turton, 37, was the former chief of staff to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and the wife of White House liaison to the House Dan Turton. She worked as a lobbyist for the Raleigh, N.C.-based utility giant Progress Energy, which announced a $13.7 billion merger with Duke Energy Corp. on the day of her death.

Turton’s car was discovered on fire at 4:45 a.m. in her garage on the 800 block of A Street Southeast.

Investigators think the fire was caused by a low-speed crash that somehow ignited the car and garage.

“It’s quite possible that the victim was maneuvering the car and came in contact with some kind of flammable chemical materials,” D.C. Fire spokesperson Pete Piringer said a few days after Turton’s body was found.

When asked to confirm the report, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Paul Metcalf said he hadn’t heard that Turton was under the influence. Officer Hugh Carew said the MPD major crash unit is still investigating the cause of the fire. The MPD has not released any further updates since the day following the fire.

Correction: March 16

The article misstated the date of Ashley Turton’s death.