Freak Death, Man Dies After Getting Trapped Inside Car Wash


By Bill Galluccio

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A man died after he got trapped between the machinery and his vehicle at a North County car wash late Friday, police said.

The apparent freak accident happened around 11:45 p.m. at Pearl Car Wash on East Valley Parkway, an Escondido Police watch commander said by phone. The car wash is a 24-hour, automatic, self-serve machine, where the driver controls progress, pulling forward and stopping when lights and signage indicate.

An alarm blared from the machine for as long as 30 minutes, a police lieutenant told News Flash Media at the scene, but the man wasn’t discovered until another customer walked over to see what was going on. That person called 911, and when officers arrived they found the man trapped between some of the car wash equipment and his car.


Officers managed to free the man and gave him CPR, eventually transferring him to medics who rushed him to Palomar Medical Center nearby, the watch commander told FOX 5. He died a short time later.

The watch commander said officers were reviewing security video to determine what happened. It appeared the man got out of his vehicle for some reason during his car wash, but the exact sequence of events wasn’t clear as of Saturday morning.

Officials said the incident was technically considered a “traffic collision,” not an industrial accident, because the man had control of his vehicle the whole time (as opposed to car washes where you ride along a conveyer belt in neutral). Investigators did not suspect that anyone committed a crime.

Police said the man was an adult and had no accompanying passengers, but did not provide further information about his identity.