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Tow-Truck Driver Finds Woman Trapped Under Dead Man in Car

January 22, 1988

AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ A young woman survived being trapped in a car for several days beneath her boyfriend’s nude, decomposing body, even though he apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said Friday.

It ″has us a little perplexed,″ Summit County Coroner Dr. William Cox said of the woman’s survival despite the deadly gas. ″It’s unusual, but it does happen on occasion.″

Daisy Gladden, 20, was trapped for several days beneath the body of James Daniels Jr., 26, before a tow truck driver heard her scream Thursday. She was in fair condition Friday at St. Thomas Medical Center in Akron, suffering from hypothermia, or a loss of body heat from overexposure to cold weather, hospital officials said.

Police Capt. Jerry Foys said Ms. Gladden told officers the couple had used drugs and alcohol and ″were doing other things″ in the front seat of the car parked in the garage of an abandoned house.

Cox said alcohol and narcotics can intensify the effect carbon monoxide has on the body.

Police believe the couple went to the garage to engage in sex. The woman was not sure if that was Sunday or Monday, police said.

Don Sullivan, an investigator for the coroner’s office, said investigators believe Daniels died Monday because his body had begun to decompose, Sullivan said.

Paramedics at the scene said the man was nude and the woman was wearing only a cloth raincoat.

″The man died while on top of the woman,″ said police Sgt. Howard Arnette. ″She was wedged in the front seat with his body on top of hers.″

Sullivan said Daniels was 5-foot-10 and weighed 170 pounds. The woman’s height and weight were not available, but officials said it was obvious it would have been difficult for her to maneuver out of the car.

Police described the two as boyfriend and girlfriend.

The car’s ignition was turned on and the gas tank was empty, circumstances which normally suggest carbon monoxide poisoning, Arnette said.

The couple were discovered by two truck driver Del Lockhard, who had been sent by police to tow a car abandoned on a lawn next to the garage.

″I kept hearing screams,″ Lockhard said. He said he looked in a window of the locked garage and saw an arm waving in the window of a car inside, and ran to call police.

Firefighters found the couple after prying open the garage door.

″She was lucky it was warmer the last few days,″ Arnette said.

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