April 07, 2020

Crash victim dies day after release> MDI Hospital says care `appropriate’

BAR HARBOR — A former local radio personality who died a little more than 24 hours after he was treated at Mount Desert Island Hospital and released last week after a car accident was given “appropriate” treatment, a hospital official said Wednesday.

“We treated him to the extent of his consent and respected his wishes to be released into police custody,” said spokeswoman Laura Neal. “We gave him appropriate treatment and he asked to be released to police and we did that,” she said.

Citing patient confidentiality, Neal declined to comment on what treatment 42-year-old Joseph Ionno was given the night of Jan. 21 after he was involved in a head-on collision on Route 3 in Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor Police Officer Allen Smith said Ionno, known locally for his former colorful political commentary radio show on WMDI in Bar Harbor, was intoxicated during the accident and at the hospital.

According to Smith, at approximately 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21, Ionno’s 1985 Dodge veered into oncoming traffic near the Salisbury Cove stretch of Route 3. He struck a 1990 Mazda driven by Julie Fulton-Kelly, 41, of Bar Harbor, totaling both cars.

Eyewitnesses told Smith that Ionno had been weaving into the wrong lane for much of his trip from downtown Bar Harbor to the site of the accident.

Both drivers were transported to Mount Desert Island Hospital. Ionno had not been wearing a seat belt. Fulton-Kelly, who had been wearing a seat belt, was treated and released the same night, according to Neal.

Ionno was released to police custody and taken to the Bar Harbor Police Station. He was booked for operating under the influence, posted bail and returned to his home on Partridge Cove Road in Lamoine.

The following evening at approximately 10:30 p.m., Ionno’s girlfriend called 911 and requested an ambulance, according to Smith. Ambulance attendants found Ionno lying dead on the bathroom floor. A medical examiner’s report concluded he died of severe internal injuries related to his accident, including a ruptured spleen.

The news of Ionno’s death came as a surprise to Smith. “[At the hospital] he refused some things and then they’d talk him into [further treatment],” he said. “He was complaining of pain in his chest but I just figured they released him. … He seemed to be okay but I’m not a doctor,” said Smith.

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