From WJAC TV:
ADAMS TWP., CAMBRIA CO., Pa. – Adams Twp. Police and the Cambria Co. coroner’s office said they are still investigating the death of Michael J. Beaver. Police said Beaver, 60, was killed when his 2010 Chevy Corvette went up in flames while he was driving along Forest Hills Drive Saturday night.
Those local authorities said they are also checking to make sure there were no technical problems with the car that prohibited Beaver from escaping.
They said first responders and witnesses first on scene tried to rescue Beaver. They said they couldn’t break in leaving Beaver trapped inside.
The chief deputy coroner Jeff Lees said Beaver succumbed to toxic fumes before 95 percent of his body was burned. Lees also said Beaver was legally drunk at the time of his death.
Police are still looking into the possibility that he was alert and couldn’t get out of the car himself because the doors and windows were locked. “He was a member of the U.S. armed forces, so it’s not like he wouldn’t have the strength, power or knowledge to overcome this,” Adams Twp.
Police Chief Kirk Moss said. “It’s truly possible he was trapped in his own vehicle. It’s a possibility. I’m not saying that’s what happened.”
They also said Beaver may have been knocked out by the toxic fumes and smoke after his car erupted in flames.
There was an incident in Texas just weeks ago where man and his dog died after police said they were not being able to get out of his 2007 Corvette. The power in the car stopped working and authorities said there were signs the victim worked to manually open his doors, but eventually died in the hot summer sun.
It’s a different case here, with a different make and model, but it’s something local authorities said they need to rule out. “That’s why we want to take a closer look at the vehicle,” Lees said. “To look at the electrical components to see if that may have affected him getting out of the vehicle.”
Lees and Moss said they reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but were told there’s nothing on record regarding 2010 Corvettes, nor are there any recalls currently listed.
The car’s maker, Chevrolet didn’t respond to our request for comment. A spokesman told a Texas television station that there is a way out if the car’s power fails. He said there’s a release handle that’s clearly marked with instructions on how to use it in the owner’s manual.