Thursday October 2, 2014 4:28 a.m. MDT
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Thomas' funeral turnout huge

Mother of 21-year-old calls community support 'overwhelming'

— Jackie Saari, mother of 21-year-old Stephen Thomas, said Friday that the support from the Steamboat Springs community has been overwhelming following her son's death.

Thomas died early March 1.

"I was just blown away at 400 people being at his funeral," Saari said. "The generosity and everything in this community was huge. : He was very loved and the outpouring of love in this community was tremendous."

Thomas was remembered as a skateboarder who was active in the Sk8 Park Church, an animal lover and a car enthusiast who enjoyed working on his blue Subaru Impreza.

"He just loved working on his car," his mother said. "His car was a work in progress."

Autopsy and toxicology results, released by Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg on Friday, show that Thomas had a blood alcohol level measured as high as 0.3, or more than three times the legal limit for driving a vehicle. The report states the cause of death "is consistent with combined impact of alcohol toxicity and aspiration of gastric contents," Ryg said. Aspiration occurs when someone vomits while unconscious and is unable to clear their airway.

Just before midnight Feb. 28, an ambulance was requested at a residence in the Willow Creek Pass subdivision in North Routt County for a man who had passed out at a party.

Thomas was unconscious when an ambulance crew from the North Routt Fire Protection District arrived. He was pronounced dead at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

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