Texas Man Dies In Locked Corvette After Checking On His Shih Tzu, Leia — Dog Perished With Him
James Rogers, 72, had just bought a 2007 Corvette, which his daughter called his dream car. On Monday afternoon, he and his Shih Tzu, Leia, headed to a Texas Waffle House. But somehow, the car locked them both inside, and within four hours, they died of heat exhaustion.
Apparently, it was concern for Leia that may have caused Rogers’ death, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. Another patron of the restaurant said James had stopped at the restaurant for coffee, but became concerned for his dog after a while.
He went out to the parking lot to check on her, fatefully leaving his cell phone behind. The Texas man got in and shut the door behind him. Investigators think a battery cable was loosened, which locked the Corvette’s doors and disabled the horn, NBC News reported.
The model’s door has electric locks, and in a cruel twist, it does have a manual release under the driver’s seat floorboard. That fact is in the manual, but Rogers was evidently unaware. His daughter thinks he was searching for it when he died and had tried to escape, KHOU added.
Police were called to the Texas Waffle House by another regular, who apparently noticed Rogers and his dog in the locked Corvette and needed help getting them out. Sadly, it was too late.
The pair had been in the vehicle for four hours and were already dead. Temperatures that afternoon had reached into the 90s.
Firefighters had to break the window to get inside.
The owner of a dealership in Beaumont, Michael Flash, told NBC News that that particular model is “very safe… There’s no doubt about that.”
But as bizarre as this death is, the same thing nearly happened to another man in Texas, who told KHOU that he was trapped in his 2006 Corvette when the battery died and the doors locked. He survived, because the battery had recharged enough to let him roll down the windows.
As for James, he is survived by two daughters, a son, and five grandchildren. His daughter said she is devastated that her father’s dream car ultimately caused his death.
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