Fourth District Coroner Russell Jackman II resigned from office Monday.
Jackman, who was arrested late last week on a charge of obstructing governmental administration, for allegedly mishandling human remains, submitted a one-sentence resignation letter to Niagara County Clerk Wayne Jagow on Monday afternoon. His departure was effective immediately.
Jackman refused to comment on his resignation when contacted by a US&J reporter late Monday.
Requests for coroner services in the 4th District are being handled by 3rd District Coroner Kenneth V. Lederhouse of Lockport, the county’s most senior coroner. Lederhouse was named earlier Monday, in a county statement announcing Jackman’s “temporary” break from active duty while the charge against him was prosecuted.
Jackman, 45, of Wilson, and Vincent Salerno, 50, chief of Cambria Volunteer Fire Co., both face a misdemeanor charge of obstruction connected to the handling of human remains after a traffic fatality in Cambria. Lockport resident Richard Dunn, 32, was killed when his vehicle collided with another April 13 on Saunders Settlement Road near Campbell Boulevard.
Jackman and Salerno both responded to the accident scene in the course of performing their duties, and Jackman allowed Salerno to take possession of a portion of the victim’s remains. The Cambria fire company has a cadaver dog and Salerno intended to use the remains to train the dog, Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour told the US&J last week.
Salerno could not be reached to comment on the allegation late Monday. He and Jackman both were due in town court on the obstruction charge today.
Jackman was elected to one of the county’s four coroner posts in November 2011, on the Republican, Conservative and Independence ballot lines. He previously served a four-year term as coroner, from 2004 through 2007.
Jackman’s resignation was a “surprise” to county leaders, Legislator Paul Wojtaszek, chairman of the legislature’s community safety and security committee, said Monday. Wojtaszek was among those who worked out a deal with Jackman in which he agreed to step away from coroner’s duty temporarily.
“He hasn’t even been to court yet,” Wojtaszek said. “I am a bit surprised” by his resignation.