Texas Police Officer Suffers Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Ford Explorer
A police officer in Austin is recovering after being sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning in his Ford Explorer patrol vehicle. According to a KRIS-TV news report, the officer was in his patrol vehicle when he began to feel nauseous. Officials say he hit the curb and called for help. He was transported to a hospital and released later. The local police union called the incident “unacceptable.” Officials with the Austin Police Association also said the police chief plans to buy kits to detect carbon monoxide in all of the department’s vehicles.
Similar Incidents Nationwide
Similar incidents have been reported all around the country including right here in Newport Beach where police officer Brian McDowell passed out when he was responding to a non-emergency call. He was driving a 2014 Ford Explorer police cruiser and crashed into a tree. He suffered a dislocated shoulder, fractured eye socket and traumatic brain injury and had no memory of the accident because he was unconscious from inhaling the deadly gas. McDowell also said he had a nauseous feeling and a headache right before he passed out.
As it turned out, McDowell was not alone. Hundreds of people around the country including police officers who drove Ford Explorer SUVs said they smelled gas in the car. Some didn’t smell anything and simply passed out. Essentially, it was carbon monoxide leaking into the cabin through unsealed seams in the back of the vehicle. Based on customer complaints and Ford’s own investigation, the issue seems to occur when accelerating with the air conditioning active and in circulation mode.
Dangerous and Defective Vehicles
Bisnar Chase is representing McDowell in his auto product liability lawsuit against Ford. In fact, senior partner Brian Chase alerted NHTSA when he saw Ford’s claim that there were “no injuries” due to these defects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe in July citing 154 customer complaints in Ford Explorers model years 2011 through 2015. A CBS news investigation learned that the number of complaints have surged to more than 450, some even involving 2016 and 2017 models that are not even part of NHTSA’s probe.
There is also evidence that Ford has known about this issue since at least 2012 when it issued its first of three repair bulletins to dealers aimed at fixing the problem. Ford has unsuccessfully tried to fix this problem. Many motorists who cannot afford to buy new cars are simply continuing to drive these defective vehicles with carbon monoxide detectors, which is absolutely unacceptable.