Clues In Ector County Investigation Point To Carbon Monoxide

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ECTOR CO. - Ector County investigators say more clues are coming to light after the group  drove into a flooded mud patch.

"It's a horrible, horrible tragedy," Lupe Munguia, an Odessa Mechanic, said. "Carbon Monoxide is something you can't see, you can't smell, and it will knock you out before you know it."

As Ector County investigators sort through the details of Sunday night's accident, they have already found plenty of clues: A half-submerged truck, deep in water, and a blocked exhaust pipe.

"There must have been something under the truck that let the exhaust inside," Munguia explained. "I'm not familiar with that, but I am familiar with carbon monoxide. It will just creep up on you. You'll just dose off. I don't think there is any other way to describe it."

Witnesses reported finding five victims inside the car with the windows rolled up, and full of fumes.

"It's an odorless, tasteless gas, that actually suffocates people if it gets too much to one area," Midland Fire Marshal Jeff Meiner described.

Meiner said Carbon Monoxide can be plenty dangerous. While we don't know if the Ector County accident was for sure Carbon Monoxide posioning, the preliminary autopsy results are in and it's likely that's the case.

"It could happen from a vehicle," Meiner said. "It's very rich, and you get a lot of Carbon Monoxide from your vehicle. So, in an instance like that, it could happen very quickly, especially in an enclosed area."

"And it will kill you quick too," Munguia added. "That's why these shops have to be well-ventilated."

Officials are urging West Texans not to drive in high waters, or go crusing in mud-patches as they continue to sort through all the clues. Authorities said they'll know more once they get the final autopsy results back from Tarrant County, and hopefully provide more information. 

If you are interesting in helping the families of the victims, a memorial fund has been step with West Texas National Bank. The Polanco-Caballero fund number is 4547829.