Authorities have identified a man who died after exiting his vehicle inside an Escondido car wash last Friday as Rene Tactay Jaime of Las Vegas. Jaime, 56, frequently visited San Diego where some of his family members live, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office told Los Angeles on Tuesday.
The incident happened at about 11:45 p.m., police said, when Jaime drove into a self-service car wash in the 2100 block of East Valley Parkway, then exited his 2014 Scion XB for an unknown reason, according to the Escondido Police Department.
EPD Lt. Scott Walters tells Los Angeles that officers found the vehicle in drive gear, along with evidence that Jaime was dragged by the vehicle, which rolled forward after he exited. Jaime was pinned between the wagon and the car wash machinery. The car wash did not appear to be active at the time of the incident, police said.
The man was unresponsive when officers arrived and was transported to Palomar Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Walters said.
The medical examiner has yet to release the cause of death and the incident remains under investigation.
Walters, who has been with the police department for 30 years, said he’s never witnessed an incident like this.
“We see industrial accidents, but I have never seen anyone get killed in a car wash,” he told Los Angeles.
Though the incident is tragically bizarre, other people have been killed in car wash accidents in previous years.
In May 2005, a 23-year-old car wash attendant died when he was pulled into a side-arm rotating brush while washing down a car wash tunnel in California, according to the CDC. The city where the incident occurred was not listed.
Also in July 2005, a 46-year-old man was killed when an air compressor ruptured and exploded at Chevron Car Wash in Orange, the Los Angeles Times reported. The cause of the man’s death was unclear.
In Melbourne, Australia, meanwhile, a service station was charged in December by a workplace safety agency for a 2019 incident in which a 73-year-old man was fatally crushed in an automatic car wash , according to the Guardian. The man apparently drove into the car wash before getting out of it to re-enter an access code. When he attempted to get back inside, he was crushed as the wash cycle started.
Several injuries have occurred at car washes as well.
In June 1997, a 15-year-old boy was electrocuted while removing a shorted-out motor inside a Colorado car wash, according to the Hanford Sentinel. And in 1990, a 13-year-old boy’s leg was sucked into a drying machine and severed from his body while he was taking a break from his summer job at a car wash in Washington, the Escondido Times reported.
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