AUBURN (AP/CBS) — Police in Auburn say an officer who passed out behind the wheel of his cruiser and crashed has tested positive for exposure to carbon monoxide.
Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis said Wednesday that both the cruiser and officer had tested positive for the gas.
Sluckis says the officer rear-ended another vehicle, causing “minimal” damage. He was taken to a local hospital. Sluckis says the officer’s levels were not near a “deadly level.”
The woman who was hit by the officer suffered a minor injury.
Sluckis says two more officers also tested positive for carbon monoxide and was hospitalized.
He says the vehicles involved are Ford Explorer SUVs.
Testing has identified carbon monoxide in 10 department vehicles. Those vehicles have been pulled out of service. Carbon monoxide detectors have been ordered.
In a statement, Ford said it’s too early to determine what caused the crash, arguing that the carbon monoxide level in the SUV was relatively low.
“It’s premature to draw conclusions from what happened today in Auburn after reports of carbon monoxide at levels of 13 parts per million in the vehicle,” a Ford spokesperson said Wednesday night.
The Auburn Police Department becomes one of several across the country with late model Explorers leaking potentially deadly carbon monoxide into the passenger compartment, possibly the result of the special Interceptor Police equipment package that almost all departments add onto them.
Officers elsewhere have been overcome and had similar incidents.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)