MERIDIAN TWP. (WLNS) – Meridian Township police officers now have carbon monoxide detectors in their patrol cars after one officer was exposed to the deadly gas from what the department suspects could be due to the Ford model SUV the officer was driving.
According to the department’s Assistant Police Chief Ken Plaga, earlier in the week the township manager actually saw a similar story about this happening.
The department got its patrol fleet checked and all was good to go until Tuesday.
“The officer started having headaches, dizziness and light headedness, went to the fire station and the fire station checked them and they were subsequently transported to the hospital,” Plaga said. “At the hospital they did show elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood system.”
The officer has since been released from the hospital. Although it has not been confirmed what exactly caused this to happen, Meridian Township isn’t taking any chances when it comes to it’s patrol car.
“We’ve put that vehicle that that officer was driving out of service and it is being inspected by the local Ford dealership,” Plaga said.
But law enforcement officials in Texas say they believe it is the ford explorer that exposed five officers to carbon monoxide and according to the President for the Austin Police Association these officers had double and triple the amount of CO 2 in their system than they’re supposed to have.
Sgt. Zachary Lahood was one of them.
“I’m lucky to be alive I believe that,” he said. “And I’m lucky I didn’t kill somebody else and their family that night.”
Earlier this year there were more than 450 complaints involving Ford Explorers with the model years 2011 through 2017.
While federal regulators are now investigating this issue, it’s one that Ford has known about since 2012, citing a design issue; One that could allow exhaust to seep in through unsealed seams in the SUV’s rear.
“We can’t be certain that this is the vehicle that caused the carbon monoxide exposure,” Plaga said. “It’s the most logical explanation, but we are doing a complete investigation to see what caused this situation to occur.”