More police departments report officers getting sick and crashing in Ford Explorer police SUVs.

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Ford Explorer Carbon Monoxide Fumes Plague Police
More police departments report officers getting sick and crashing in Ford Explorer police SUVs.

— Ford Explorer carbon monoxide problems continue to plague police departments as officers say the deadly fumes are causing them to pass out and crash their SUVs.

Thanks to driving a Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, a Louisiana officer landed in the hospital with alleged carbon monoxide poisoning while her Explorer landed nearly upside down in a canal next to a highway.

In April 2017, the officer was driving in Henderson, Louisiana, when she passed out and the Ford Explorer police SUV flipped over. Local media reports say the officer was taken to a hospital and tests confirmed she suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to witnesses, the Explorer wasn't speeding and state authorities say there is no evidence alcohol played a part in the crash.

The Henderson Police Department says it will now do what Austin, Texas, officers did and install carbon monoxide detectors in the vehicles. The detectors will constantly monitor the air for signs of carbon monoxide and sound a loud alarm before carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels.

Austin police installed carbon monoxide detectors in about 360 Ford Explorer police vehicles after officers reported Ford Explorer carbon monoxide problems are causing sickness and crashes.

The Austin Police Department says at least three incidents are attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning in Ford Explorer SUVs, with one officer allegedly suffering from lightheadedness and another officer reporting he felt sick right before his Ford Explorer hit a curb.

The officer was treated for possible carbon monoxide poisoning and released from the hospital.

A separate case involving a Ford Explorer police vehicle goes back to 2015 when a California police officer crashed his Explorer and allegedly suffered severe and permanent injuries.

On September 6, 2015, officer Brian McDowell was working for the Newport Beach Police Department and driving a 2014 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor vehicle on his way to a traffic collision when he suddenly lost consciousness. The SUV drifted across the center median, went over a curb and crashed into a tree.

McDowell and his wife blame Ford and say defects in the Explorer exposed the officer to exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide, leading to the medical emergency and crash.

Ford knows about the exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide problems in Ford Explorers based on more than 150 complaints filed with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In July 2016, safety regulators opened an investigation to learn more about owners reporting exhaust fumes in 2011-2015 Ford Explorers, with most of the complaints describing exhaust fumes inside the SUVs during full throttle applications. In addition, Explorer drivers complain the air conditioning systems contribute to the fumes when the systems are in recirculation mode.

NHTSA says the automaker knows of the exhaust and carbon monoxide problems because two technical service bulletins (TSBs) have been sent to dealerships.

One TSB (12-12-4) sent to dealers in December 2012 told technicians to seal and undercoat certain areas of the rear floor pans and body seams, replace the left-side air extractors and install rear lift gate drain valves.

Then in July 2014, Ford sent dealers TSB 14-0130 which added additional software changes to the recirculation mode operation of the air conditioning system during full throttle application events.

Separately, a Florida woman filed a Ford Explorer carbon monoxide lawsuit in 2013 alleging her 2013 Ford Explorer made her and her 5-year-old daughter sick, a lawsuit that was settled by both parties in 2016. has complaints about Ford Explorer exhaust problems in the model years included in the federal investigation:


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