An autopsy on Shain Gandee, part of the cast of the MTV reality show “Buckwild,” confirmed what I suspected: He died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday announced the cause of death of  Gandee, 21, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and friend Donald Robert Myers, 27.

“The manner of death is accidental and the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning for all three subjects,” the sheriff’s department said in a press release.

The bodies of all three men were found in Gandee’s Ford Bronco pick-up truck in Sissonville, W. Va.

The three men were reported missing Sunday afternoon after they said they were going to go off-road driving. They were found by one of Shain’s friends, who was searching the trails and ridges in the area for him and the others.

“The vehicle sat unevenly, but upright, and was partially submerged in deep mud,” the sheriff’s department said. “Mud was covering the lower part of the passenger side door of the vehicle, but the driver’s side of the vehicle was above the mud.  The muffler of the vehicle was completely below the surface of the mud.”

As soon as I read about the circumstances of Shain’s death, the truck stuck in the mud, I knew he and the others were victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Anytime a car’s exhaust pipe gets blocked, the lethal gas will be released into the interior of a vehicle, potentially killing its occupants.

This winter, I blogged about several horrible accidents were auto exhaust pipes were blocked by snow. In one case, a father had put his two kids in his running car while he shoveled snow so they could keep warm. But snow had blocked the tailpipe, and the children died.

At best, Gandee’s death may make the public more aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and blocked exhaust pipes.


Three people died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Jeep in Maine because the vehicle’s tailpipe was blocked by mud in a blog, according to the Kennebec Journal. It’s a hell of a way to die for a group of friends that was just doing off-road driving for some weekend relaxation.

The bodies of Reginald Gay, 41, his wife Samantha Davis-Gay, 33, and Luke Thompson, 22, were found Saturday night in a Jeep Wrangler in Windsor, Maine.

“Investigators believe the three died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning after the Jeep became stuck in a bog and continual revving created excessive exhaust,” the Kennebec Journal wrote.

Authorities said that the Jeep’s exhaust system normally would vent from a tailpipe, but when the vehicle got stuck in the blog the pipe was buried in the mud, blocked by it, according to the Kennebec Journal. That meant that the exhaust fumes filtered into the vehicle instead, killing its passengers.

The article pointed out that the incident was reminiscent of cases when victims die of carbon monoxide poisoning after their car’s tailpipe gets blocked by snow. For example, people stuck in a snowstorm may leave their car engine running to keep warm, but then die because their tailpipe was plugged up by snow.

According to the newspaper, authorities believe that the three victims may have opened the Jeep’s windows at some point because of the smell of the exhaust that the hard-top vehicle was giving off.  It’s unlikely they knew about the carbon monoxide, since it is odorless and colorless — which is what makes it so dangerous.

In fact, the story noted that in December 2010, three people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, but survived, when their car got stock in mud in Kennebec County.

A captain with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department  told the newspaper that if the three victims had opened the back window of the Jeep, it “would have created an air exchange” and then no one would have perished.

Alcohol was found in the Jeep, but authorities wouldn’t comment on whether the victims had been drinking.