My belief that MTV reality TV star Shain Gandee’s death may prove to be a teachable moment Wednesday got a boost, when The Huffington Post called to interview me about carbon monoxide fatalities.

The Huffington Post asked me about the demise of Gandee, who was featured on “Buckwild,” and two other men when they went out “mudding” in rural West Virginia last weekend.  As soon as I heard that the bodies of the three had been found in Gandee’s Ford Bronco truck, I blogged they they had to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

And I wrote a follow-up blog yesterday when authorities released the results of the autopsies of Gandee and the other two men: carbon monoxide poisoning. Gandee’s truck had sunk into the mud so deep that its muffler was totally covered, as well as its exhaust pipe.

That meant that his truck filled with lethal carbon monoxide, which killed him and his two passengers. The Huffington Post explained about the sport of “mudding,” or off-road driving, is increasingly popular. I don’t see its appeal, but for 21-year-olds like Gandee, it is fun.

I explained to The Huffington Post that it takes “minutes, not moments,” for carbon monoxide to do its killing, depriving the bloodstream of its needed oxygen.

The writer couldn’t understand why people who are in a mud-bound truck, starting to feel ill, would not open their vehicle windows or suspect they were being poisoned.

But as I explained, it is not as crazy as it sounds. In a situation like Gandee was in, stuck and probably cold, people don’t want to open their windows to let in the cold.

That’s why motorists stuck in snow sometimes are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning after their tailpipe gets blocked by snow. If you are stuck in a blizzard, you are not about to roll down your window.

In any event, The Huffington Post is a popular website, and I expect that many people will read the blog regarding the dangers of carbon monoxide and cars stuck in mud or snow. Perhaps some lives will be saved.

The headline on The Huffington Post story was perfect and said it all: “Shain Gandee Dead: On ‘Mudding,’ ‘Buckwild,’ And How Not To Die In Your Truck.”




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.


When I heard that one of the stars of MTV’s reality show “Buckwild” had been found dead with two other men in their vehicle, I figured they were all victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

And although as of late Monday authorities still hadn’t released a cause of death for the trio, I’m still betting it was from CO, not much of a leap when you know the details of how Shain Gandee, 21, was found.

The bodies of Shain, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and Donald Robert Myers, 27, were discovered in a Ford Bronco on a dirt road in Sissonville, W.Va., according to Fox News.

That  story quoted Kanawha County authorities who said that the Bronco’s muffler was submerged in mud, likely meaning that any exhaust pipe was below the surface, as well.

With the muffler and exhaust pipe plugged up with mud, the Bronco’s exhaust likely backed into the vehicle, filling it with lethal carbon monoxide.

I’ve written about several fatal accidents that were quite similar to this, when off-road “mudding” trips ended in tragedy.

If I am right about the cause of Gandee’s death, then the only good thing about it is that it provides a teachable moment. The youths who watched “Buckwild” and will read about his death will learn about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and how a blocked exhaust pipe could end in death.

The three victims, according to the Fox News story, were last seen alive Sunday afternoon at a bar. They said they were going to do some off-road driving.