The Ford Explorer is one of the most popular patrol cars in the United States since Ford canceled production of the Crown Victoria. Reports have been coming in saying that the vehicles are leaking Carbon Monoxide into the passenger area.
CBS News reports that hundreds of people who own explorers have described a sulfur or rotten egg smell when driving. The smell is reportedly coming from the exhaust at the rear of the vehicle.
Newport Beach Police Officer Brian McDowell believed that the exhaust leak is what caused him to crash his patrol car. Officer McDowell was driving his Ford Explorer patrol car to a non-emergency call when he suddenly passed out and crashed into a tree.
“I just think, plus or minus one second and I maybe wouldn’t be here on this earth for my kids,” Officer McDowell said. “I just had that nauseous feeling and just feeling like I had a headache.”
Officer McDowell sustained a dislocated shoulder, fractured eye socket, and traumatic brain injury. He has no memory of the collision.
Tests show no drugs or alcohol were in Officer McDowell's system and doctors could not find a reason why he passed out.
After months of wondering what happened, Officer McDowell learned that there has been an ongoing issue with unsealed seams at the rear of Ford Explorers.
The issue is believed to occur while accelerating with the air conditioning active and in circulation mode. In a 2015 deposition, a Ford company representative said that there appears to be a "design issue," and that they were working on it. The company has not notified customers and maintains that the issue poses no safety risk.
Newport Beach Police Department has since installed carbon monoxide detectors in their patrol cars. Since the detectors have been implemented, some of them have gone off.
If you drive a newer model Ford Explorer, you may want to keep the air circulation turned off.
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