Justin Spisak, the San Luis Obispo man who declined medical aid after crashing his truck in the North County on Nov. 27, died from blunt force trauma to the head in combination with multiple drugs in his system, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The blunt force trauma was from the crash in which Spisak’s truck rolled off El Camino Real and into a ditch just south of Atascadero, officials said. Spisak lost control of the Chevy Blazer after the trailer it was towing started whipping back and forth, according to the CHP.
The 21-year-old apparently decided to forgo help because he said he was not hurt, police have said. He then reportedly went to bed and didn’t wake up that morning.
“It’s very difficult for people to judge their injuries after an auto accident,” said Dr. Scott Bisheff, medical director for the emergency department at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.
Bisheff didn’t treat Spisak but offered some general information about what to think about after a crash.
Because of swelling and bleeding, head injuries are among the several types of post-accident ailments that can show up later, Bisheff said.
“You can feel fine and have a serious injury that presents itself hours later.”
When the CHP arrived on the accident scene shortly after midnight Nov. 27, Spisak didn’t have visible injuries and had already declined aid from fire personnel and signed an ambulance release form saying he wasn’t hurt, according to the CHP.
There were no traces of alcohol in Spisak’s system, according to the toxicology report, and the drugs in his system were benzodiazepine, methadone trazodone and valproic acid. The brand of the drugs was not released. Descriptions of the drugs can be found in a Physician’s Desk Reference; however, The Tribune isn’t listing those details because the coroner was not available at press time to describe the drugs.
Officials aren’t certain on how long the medications had been in Spisak’s system at time of his death, adding that those results are still a week away. That report will also disclose how the injury and drugs specifically played a part in his death.
Spisak’s family previously declined to discuss his medical history and motivations in declining aid, saying that recalling his death and the possible circumstances leading up to it was too emotionally difficult to talk about.
They did, however, describe the 2006 San Luis Obispo High School graduate as someone who never dwelled on the past, looked to the future and spent each day in between focusing on the people he loved.