A Carbon Monoxide Death in Vermont
This week we had a Carbon Monoxide death; a 17-year-old man lost his life. Remembering Logan Newell at a candlelight vigil, the group was encouraged to share memories. “He loved everybody so much. He was always the one to say ‘Hey bud, I love you – because he did.” There were stories about his sense of humor, his generosity, his loyalty and his mischief. He was a hard worker, he loved barbecue and he loved to work on his car. Logan’s mother told the crowd: “Let everyone say you love each other right before you go to bed.”
Logan Newell had been snowboarding with a friend. His friend dropped him off at the Park and Ride, and was the last one to see him alive. Logan was found unresponsive at the Park and Ride; it’s speculated that he was letting his car warm up when he succumbed. He had an exhaust leak in his 2002 VW Jetta, which was allowing Carbon Monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment. He knew he had an exhaust leak. He had made plans to fix it this weekend. This weekend will never come for Logan.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless poisonous gas. It is a byproduct of combustion, so is found in the exhaust system of cars. In cold weather, the CO emissions in cars rises dramatically since it takes more fuel to start in the cold and some emission control devices don’t work as well in the cold. Symptoms of CO poisoning – drowsiness, fatigue and slight nausea are not alarming – that’s why it’s sometimes called the silent killer.
This got me thinking about all the old “beater” cars out there. They’re inexpensive to buy, for some they’re an exciting challenge to fix up. An exhaust leak can happen in any car, but I expect that older cars are more susceptible to having it leak into the passenger area. How can we keep this tragedy from repeating itself?