Join Date: Oct 1999
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Actually there were 3 vehicles. More from today's paper:
LUNENBURG - A 9-year-old Fitchburg boy died yesterday, two days after he and another boy were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in the back seat of an idling off-road vehicle that their fathers were trying to push out of the mud.
Alejandro Thomasian was pronounced dead at 11:29 a.m., law enforcement officials said. Jobanny Matias, an 11-year-old Leominster boy who was with Alejandro in the vehicle, remained in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The boys were trying to stay warm inside the 1992 Jeep Cherokee, which had become stuck in a trench Friday in the Lunenburg woods, officials said. The vehicle was partially submerged in muddy water, apparently blocking its exhaust pipe and causing the vehicle to fill with carbon monoxide, according to Joseph D. Early Jr., Worcester's district attorney, and police Chief Daniel Bourgeois.
"We just want to offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of these two boys," Early said in a press release yesterday. "This is just a terrible tragedy."
The chief medical examiner will perform an autopsy today.
Andre Ravenelle superintendent of Fitchburg public schools, said Alfredo was in the fourth grade at Reingold Elementary School. He said officials were contacting all guidance counselors across the district and planning to bring together the staff from some of the city's other schools to provide support. The counselors and special education staff would put together talking points and ways to answer questions from students, he said.
"Unfortunately, school systems have more experience [with tragedy] than they like. It's very, very sad; just very tragic. My heart and prayers go out to the family.
"Our task is to be there and be available and supportive to all of other students and staff."
A spokesman for one of the boys' families, who identified himself as the child's uncle, declined to comment last night.
The boys' fathers and another adult, Raul Lopez, each drove a vehicle into the woods about 6 p.m.
The rocky dirt trails are often used for off-road driving.
About two hours later, the Cherokee got stuck in the mud, according to Jason Gowell, who is friends with the boys' fathers.
The boys were in the vehicle for about 10 minutes before one of the adults noticed they were unconscious, Gowell told the Globe Saturday.
The Cherokee was the only vehicle that was enclosed. The other two vehicles were a Suzuki Samurai and a Jeep Wrangler.
The fathers then sped about a mile out of the woods in the Wrangler, heading for an auto body shop, which is near one of the off-road paths and is run by Lopez.
When they arrived, the boys were unconscious and their faces were a deep shade of blue, Gowell said. One father carried his son into the shop, where an employee began resuscitation efforts. Paramedics arrived shortly after to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the boys, who were taken by ambulance to Health Alliance Leominster before they were flown to the hospital.
Lopez spent most of the last two days at the hospital and was taking the accident very hard, Gowell and a family member said.
"Our initial investigation points to this being a truly tragic accident," Bourgeois said. "Our hearts go out to the families of both boys. I want to commend the police officers and emergency personnel for their efforts to keep these boys alive."
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly if undetected. Unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide accounts for about 15,000 emergency room visits and 500 deaths in the United States each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Local and State police will continue to investigate.
I drive over things.