Man Dies in Automated Car Wash After Exiting Vehicle for Unknown Reason

A man has tragically passed away after exiting his vehicle while attending a California car wash.
credit: Jordi De Rueda Roigé / Alamy (Stock image)
As reported by NBC 7 San Diego, police are calling for witnesses after the 56-year-old man became stuck between his vehicle and the machinery at the East Valley Parkway self-service automatic car wash.

The fatal incident occurred at 11:44PM on Friday (April 15), with Sergeant Chris Leso of the Escondido Police Department saying in a statement on Saturday that a preliminary investigation is now underway. Crucially, officers are trying to figure out why the man exited his 2014 Scion xB hatchback.

Sgt. Leso added that after the man had vacated his vehicle, it started to roll forward, causing him to become trapped between the car and the car wash machinery.

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A passerby was then alerted to the situation after an alarm started sounding. The victim was then found unresponsive at the car wash and the police were called. However, the Daily Mail reports that authorities believe the alarm could have been going off for up to half an hour before the man was eventually found.

When officers arrived at the scene, they were able to lift the vehicle to free the man. However, despite officers' best efforts and administering CPR, the man was declared dead after being transported to Palomar Medical Center.

NBC 7 San Diego adds that the car wash is not believed to have been active at the time of the man's death and that the Escondido Police Department's Traffic Division is now investigating the death and reviewing footage to try and determine why the man exited his car.

Police later explained to Fox 5 News that the self-service car wash allows drivers to pull into a wash corridor, where jets and large brushes clean the customer's vehicle. But unlike other types of automatic car washes that utilize an automatic track, this particular car wash requires the drivers to continue driving forward.

As a result, the man's death is being investigated as a traffic collision rather than an industrial accident.

Police are asking any witnesses to the tragedy to call Officer Pete McCollough at 760-839-4930.

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