Bar owner had heart attack before crash

Published 3:06 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Though bar owner Michael Skov was drunk when he got behind the wheel of his 1993 Buick LeSabre on the evening of April 14, a heart attack caused the crash.

His death certificate confirms the cause of his death was heart failure.


And while the State Patrol has been reluctant to release details to the general public except to say he had “acute alcohol intoxication” and to say a “medical condition” caused his death, Skov’s mother indeed has spoken with the coroner who conducted the autopsy.

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Patricia Skov of New Richland said Hastings-based coroner Dr. Lindsey Thomas told her Skov was dead at the wheel. Michael Skov’s northbound Buick collided on Minnesota Highway 13 north of Albert Lea in the pouring rain with a southbound 2008 Cadillac CTS at 10:30 p.m. In the Cadillac were driver Alex Kast, 17, and passengers Chaz Mithun, 16, and Jeremy Hyman, 27. They were treated at the hospital in Albert Lea and released the next day.

“It took a burden off my shoulders to know that was the cause of the crash,” Patricia Skov said, “and that the other three boys survived.”

She noted how Kast and the initial crash report had described the Buick as drifting into the southbound lane. She said if her son hadn’t been dead at the time, the Buick more likely would have been weaving, rather than coming straight at the Cadillac.

“The car just kept coming at them,” the mother said.

The crash has been a lightning rod in the community. On one side, people remember his warm, giving and kind personality. There was an instant and wide outpouring of sorrow following his death, with people rushing to his defense. On the other side, people say Skov endangered the lives of the two boys and one man when he decided to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while drunk, plus anyone else on the road that night.

Patricia Skov said she wants the community to know the full details, not just some of details, as the State Patrol provided earlier this week. A State Patrol sergeant could not pinpoint when a full report on the crash would be available.

The coroner on the death certificate called the heart attack “hypertensive and artherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”

The death certificate and coroner also list factors that contributed to a heart attack: “chronic alcoholism with acute alcohol intoxication, cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes mellitus, multiple blunt force injuries due to perimortem motor vehicle crash.”

In plain words, it says being intensely drunk at the time of being in severely poor health contributed to Skov having a heart attack. It also notes the injuries that occurred at or near the time of death also contributed, which means if the man wasn’t already dead at the time of the crash, he was dying.

Skov, the owner of the Bend in the Road in Manchester, was 47. His home was in Manchester but had been living in New Richland to help his parents.

Patricia Skov recalled how he had been helping around the house because his father, Duane Skov, suffered from Parkinson’s disease, mainly in the legs.

“He was taking care of all the guy stuff,” she said.

She recalled how he liked sports and was “a big jokester.” He liked to ride his motorcycle long distances, but before he would go he would say “I love you, Mom. I love you, Dad.”

The mom said her son never asked for assistance from them or others but was “always a shoulder for someone to lean on.”

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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