Test results awaited in cause of man's death

April 28, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Investigators won't know for at least another week what killed a 25-year-old Ellicott City man who collapsed on his living room floor Monday night.

James "Jimmy" Collins, 25, of the 3700 block of St. Paul St. was pronounced dead at his home about 7 p.m., Howard County police said.

His family told police that before he died, Mr. Collins had been uncontrollable.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Donald G. Wright said yesterday an autopsy won't be finished until toxicology tests are completed in a week or two.

Until an autopsy is complete, police are treating the death as accidental.

The flooring worker's grieving relatives sat in the kitchen of their small Ellicott City house yesterday afternoon, trying to understand what happened.

About noon Monday, Mr. Collins picked up his $400 paycheck and returned with cigarettes, said his father James H. Collins, 62. He gave his father $40 to buy truck tires and $20 to the baby-sitter who watched his 2-year-old daughter.

About 4 p.m., the younger Mr. Collins got into an argument with his girlfriend on the telephone, and became hyperactive and paranoid, family members said. Between 6:45 p.m. and 7 p.m., "he went wild," his father said, "just really uncontrollable."

At one point, the young man ran outside, and his father followed. After getting his son back in the house, the older man got him to lie on the carpeted living room floor.

"He kept saying, 'Daddy I'm all right,' " Mr. Collins said. "I said, 'Your mother will be home at 7 o'clock. I don't want her to see you in this shape.'

"I thought he went to sleep" on the floor.

But he added that he soon learned his son wasn't breathing.

Someone called police, and an officer arrived but couldn't find a pulse.

Mr. Collins said his son's death may be drug-related because of his behavior.

"His eyes were rolling everywhere," Mr. Collins recalled.

Jimmy Collins was hard-working and loved his four young children, his family said. He was once an honors student at Mount Hebron High School, but he dropped out in 1984 after meeting a girl who introduced him to drugs. Since then he had been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers, family members said.

"If anybody can learn a lesson, please learn a lesson. It's not worth it," said Tammie Collins, Jimmy Collins' 29-year-old sister. "Drugs are not the answer."

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