A speedy reach for tennis gear in a minivan brought about the death of a Seven Hills, Ohio student Kyle Plush on April 10th, 2018 and an examination of a comparable van sheds some light on how it may have occurred.
The 16-year-old high school student drove a 2004 Honda Odyssey Model– The Enquirer recreated how someone could move toward the back of the vehicle and become stuck, by using a van of the same model and make in their tests.
A source that knew of what happened to Plush disclosed to The Enquirer on Thursday that the teenager died while aiming to get tennis accessories from the Odyssey’s rear. Parked at Seven Hills for tennis practice, he placed a knee on the third-row bench seat and reached over the bench seat into the rear storage space of the van.
The source stated that the bench seat flipped backward. The pressure of that motion and the weight of the seat caught Plush upside down, head in the rear storage and legs in the air against the minivan’s rear door.
In a preliminary report, Hamilton County, Ohio Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco ruled Plush died of asphyxia by chest compression – meaning a weight pressed against his chest, making it impossible to breathe.
The Odyssey reviewed by The Enquirer on Thursday has a latch on the rear bench seat that, when unfastened, enables the seat to fold into the van’s rear storage to make more floor room.
The Enquirer verified the description of Plush’s action to grab his gear and discovered that when the seat latch is protected, the seat did not move.
But when the latch was not secured, a reporter kneeling on the bench seat and reaching into the rear storage compartment was able with little effort to rock the seat backward. That motion of the huge metal-framed seat can sandwich a person upside down, pinned between the back of the bench seat and the jamb of the rear door.
When Plush got trapped, he voice-activated the Siri functionality of his iPhone, which was out of his reach, to make two 911 calls seeking help, forecasting his death and expressing love for his mother.
Honda spokesman Chris Martin said Thursday there were no seat-related recalls connected to the 2004 Odyssey.
All recalls that applied to the vehicle Plush died in had been fixed, he said. Honda officials inspected vehicles using the VIN number supplied by authorities.
“Honda has seen media reports with respect to the heartbreaking passing of an adolescent in a 2004 Honda Odyssey in Cincinnati, Ohio – our hearts go out to the victim’s family during this challenging period,” Martin said. “Honda lacks any specific data from which to figure out what occurred in this incident definitively. We can confirm that no seat-related recalls were affecting the 2004 Honda Odyssey.”
Honda invented the technology to fold back the rear bench seat in the early 1990s, and the feature has now been a standard in most minivans.
HONDA RECALLS 900,000 ODYSSEY MINIVANS
The previous fall, Honda recalled 900,000 Odysseys from years 2011 to 2017, most sold in the United States for fixing second-row seats that could flip further if not latched.
The Japanese automaker said it was dealing with a repair. Until then, Honda has put instructions for adequately latching the seat on its website for owners. Honda declares it has received 46 reports of minor injuries related to the issue with second-row seats.