Police: Man dead from CO poisoning


HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Police say a Hazleton father is dead after being poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes when he didn't shut off his SUV.

Police say they were able to rescue a sleeping 11-year-old boy from the house. The boy and his mother were rushed to a Hazleton hospital, and then to Allentown for treatment.

Police responded after 4 a.m. Sunday to a home in the 600 block of Alter Street, where they found the wife already outside.

"The wife was hysterical when the officers arrived," says police Chief Jerry Speziale. "They were able to get the garage door open and shut the car off and immediately went in for the 11-year-old boy. As a result of doing that, they were all contaminated with the carbon monoxide."

Inside the garage, police say they found Carlos Minaya Castillo, 49, dead on a basement bathroom floor with a nose injury.

They realized that the SUV had put lots of carbon monoxide into the house, and opened all the windows and doors and took the family away from the house, police said.

Police say the wife had heard the vehicle come in around 2 a.m. Sunday, but didn't wake up until two hours later, when she heard a thump from him hitting the floor.

"If he did not fall and make that noise to wake her....," says Speziale. "She heard him arrive, she heard the door go down. I think she even stated that she heard the vehicle run for a moment, but then fell back to sleep."

"That's sad about the father. Prayers to her family and everything," says neighbor Miguel Garcia.

Speziale says if the wife hadn't heard that thump, she and her son might have also been poisoned by the fumes from the attached garage.

Police say they believe Mr. Castillo may have been drinking, and closed the garage door once he got home and forgot to shut off the car, and fell asleep.

"There are indicators that make us suspect alcohol-related," says Speziale.

"It could happen to anybody, but around here, this is the first time I hear something about it," says Johnny Vargas, who works at a new restaurant nearby. "It's sad that anybody that could die in that way."

Police say there were no CO alarms in the house. The incident makes some more concerned about carbon monoxide.

"We got to put more attention to a lot of things around the house because we got little kids man," says Garcia.

Police say the coroner's office will check on the levels of carbon dioxide in Castillo's body, and it's believed to be an accident. The four officers went to the hospital to get their oxygen levels back up, police said.

Firefighters were also called to check and ventilate the house.

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