On June 8, a 72-year-old man and his dog died in his corvette from heat exhaustion. It was common for James Rogers to take his Shih Tzu to the Waffle House. On Monday, Rogers drove his dream car, a recently purchased 2007 Corvette to the Waffle House for coffee.
Rogers went into the Waffle House and left his dog in the car while he went inside for coffee. Rogers went to the car to check on his dog when the events unfolded.
Rogers, from Port Arthur, Texas became trapped inside his corvette, which police discovered later was due to a battery cable coming detached. Without power, Rogers was unable to unlock the doors. The temperature outside reached 92F, according to the National Weather Service, which would put the temperature inside at approximately 135F inside the Corvette, not accounting for humidity.
The Port Arthur Police Department investigated the Corvette and saw footprints all over the inside of the corvette. Rogers desperately attempted to break free from the corvette.
The loose cable to the battery prevented the man from even being able to honk his horn while in the Waffle House parking lot to try to get someone’s attention. Rogers could not call for help either, as his phone was left in the restaurant. One person did notice Rogers struggling and tried to free the man and his dog, Leila, from the corvette, but was not successful.
The fire department was even unable to open the doors of the Corvette but were able to break a window to get into the car. However, by then, Rogers was unresponsive. Rogers and his little dog, Leia were pronounced dead. Police say the man and his dog died due to heat exhaustion from being trapped inside the Corvette. The two had been trapped inside the car for approximately four hours. Rogers leaves behind three children and five grandchildren.
If the electric somehow fails in a Corvette, KHOU reports, that there is an emergency door release handle that will force the Corvette’s doors open. Unfortunately, Rogers was unaware of this lever, as are most Corvette owners, an expert told KHOU. The release handle is in the floor on the left-hand side by the driver and there is also one on the right-hand side by the passenger to open the doors when the battery is dead or there is an electrical problem. The release handles are difficult to see, according to experts.
Approximately 38 children die from heat exhaustion each year while inside a vehicle. If it is 90F outside, the heat and humidity are worse inside the vehicle, where the temperature is about 130F.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion can come about fast, even more so with children. A child’s body temperature rises five times faster than an average adult. Police warn people to always check the backseat before getting out of the car. Some people even go so far as to put something important, like a purse in the backseat to ensure the backseat is checked. There are many things to look for concerning heat exhaustion.
- High fever
If you believe someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, tell them to stop what they are doing and sit or lie down to cool off. Move into a cool location out of the sun. Have the person drink as many fluids as they can handle. If symptoms continue, get the person to the emergency room immediately.
It is important to stay hydrated to prevent a heat-related illnesses. Dr. Carey Ertz in Millard, recommends drinking plenty of fluids before an outdoor activity. Plenty of fluids are recommended during the activity as well. Children should avoid fruit juices and soda. Cold water is best, but children will drink more if they have flavored sports drinks.
Leia was not in the corvette while Rogers was in the waffle house. It has also been brought to me attention by Roger’s family that no one tried to help him. My heart goes out to the family of James Rogers and his shi tzu Leia’s terrible tragedy.
By Jeanette Smith
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Photo courtesy of fragglerawker_03’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License