A longtime Weather Channel meteorologist who died after crashing a Volkswagen into a parking garage Sunday at Midtown’s Colony Square Mall committed suicide, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday.
Atlanta police initially said Nicholas Wiltgen had a heart attack, then backed off that statement on Monday.
Fulton Medical Examiner’s office investigators on Tuesday said the death had been ruled a suicide and Wiltgen died of head and brain trauma after the crash.
A witness saw the Volkswagen Eos 3.2 traveling “at a very high rate of speed” before running into a wall at the parking garage, located near the intersection of Peachtree and 14th streets, according to information released by Atlanta police and fire officials.
The car went through the wall and about 20 feet into the adjacent W Atlanta-Midtown, where it hit a person in a storage area around 5:30 p.m, Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said. Authorities initially described the injured person as a hotel worker, but a W Atlanta spokeswoman clarified Monday that he was a member of an “independent production company.” He was treated for non-life threatening injuries, Jones said.
Witnesses “pulled the [driver] out of the car and attempted CPR,” fire department spokesman Cortez Stafford said, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Wiltgen, 39, of Atlanta, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We have lost a treasured member of The Weather Channel family,” Cameron Clayton, president of product and technology at The Weather Channel, said in a statement. “Nick Wiltgen was at Weather for more than 15 years as a senior digital meteorologist and integral member of our content team.
“Millions read his work every week and were better for it. He was a dedicated, passionate member of our family and we will miss him deeply. Our heartfelt sympathy is with his family and friends.”
Clayton said grief counselors would be available for Weather Channel employees throughout the workday Tuesday.
Media colleagues of Wiltgen’s sent their condolences via Twitter Monday afternoon.
Al Roker, co-anchor of NBC’s TODAY Show, said on Twitter his thoughts and prayers were with Wiltgen’s family.
“His smile, expertise and camaraderie will be missed,” Roker said.
Mark Elliot, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, said he was saddened by the loss of his friend and colleague.
“Our WX facts will never be as full,” Elliot said in a Twitter post. “You will be truly missed.”