AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN has obtained video of an APD officer in the moments he realizes something is wrong with his patrol car and is making him sick.
The dash camera video tells the story as Sgt. Zachary LaHood asks another officer to check his car when he realizes something could be wrong. As it turns out, carbon monoxide leaking inside his APD patrol car.
“Can you hop in my driver’s seat and see if you smell…I almost hit the road twice and I think I’m going to get sick.” Sgt. LaHood says.
“Want me to have somebody come check you out?” the other officer asks.
“No, man. I just need fresh air. I started having headaches,” LaHood replies.
Since then LaHood filed a lawsuit against Ford and says he was left with long-term neurological problems after he was poisoned. According to the lawsuit, LaHood was working as on-duty police sergeant for APD at around 1:30 a.m. on March 18, 2017 when he became nauseous, light-headed and had cognitive difficulties, headaches and blurred vision.
Just last night we learned two more Austin police officers went to the hospital, sick because of carbon monoxide in their own patrol vehicles, according to Austin Police Association president Ken Casaday.
Casaday tells KXAN that there has been a problem with Ford Explorers and that this has been reported by police departments across the country. The vehicles were recalled by the manufacturer for a short time and were then brought back.
At least eleven officers have now been treated for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, that means there are more than 40 cases dating back to March. The APA, the union representing officers, is asking for new and better detectors in patrol vehicles, modifications to exhaust systems on the Ford Explorers known to cause the problem and the union as asking that an officer be on the city’s task force seeking to resolve the issue.
The union told officers to drive with their windows down in those Ford Explorers in the fleet. Explorers make up more than 60 percent of the APD fleet.