Teen Killed by Folding Third-Row Seat in Honda Odyssey
A 16-year-old boy was killed last week after being trapped behind the third-row seat of a 2004 Honda Odyssey.
The incident happened Tuesday in Cincinnati. Initial reports indicate that Kyle Plush was trying to retrieve tennis equipment from the cargo area of his family’s van when the third-row bench seat, which he was reaching over, unexpectedly folded. He was turned upside-down and stuck beneath the seat.
He managed to make two calls to 911, but died of asphyxia by chest compression before authorities arrived.
Questions about the police response are complicating matters. Plush’s death was ruled accidental, but the police response appears to have been lacking.
For example, the dispatcher who took the second call did not relay important information to the responding officers.
Plush was parked in the lot at Seven Hills School’s Hillsdale campus. He was a sophomore.
The timeline varies a bit from media report to media report, mainly because of updates. From what we can tell from the Cincinnati Enquirer, officers responded to the first call about 10 minutes after it was made and did not find Plush.
During the second call, Plush told 911 he was trapped in his family’s gold Odyssey. It’s unclear when the second call was made. The 911 operator apparently had a hard time hearing the call and even sent a code out over the phone line that would display the conversation as text on devices used by those with hearing impairments.
During all this, a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy apparently called in, also looking for the caller. He said he’d had an argument with a woman in a van earlier and was wondering if that woman was making prank calls to the police.
The deputy said he saw just one van parked in the area, and that he did not see anyone.
Plush was found by a family member around 9 pm. Several calls flooded into 911 at around that time, and the two officers who responded earlier responded again. They told the dispatcher that they’d been there earlier in the day and they thought someone was playing pranks.
We reached out to Honda for comment and the automaker had this to say: “Honda has seen media reports regarding the tragic death of a teenager in a 2004 Honda Odyssey in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our hearts go out to the victim’s family during this difficult time. Honda does not have any specific information from which to definitively determine what occurred in this incident. We can confirm that there were no seat-related recalls affecting the 2004 Honda Odyssey.”
There are a lot of unanswered questions here, not least of which is how the seat folded, since a lever or strap must be pulled to operate the seat. Mechanical failure is another possibility, as is the chance that the bench may not have been properly locked into place.
That’s to say nothing of how the police appeared to miss Plush twice. The coroner’s office reported that he died in the van.
There are so many questions, but one thing is certain: A teen died a tragic death under apparently accidental circumstances.
Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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