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Man dies in automated car wash after leaving vehicle and becoming pinned in machinery

A 56-year-old man was killed after he left his car in the middle of a self-serve car wash and became pinned between his vehicle and the facility’s machinery, local authorities said in a statement.

The Escondido Police Department said they received a call late Friday night regarding a report of an unresponsive man found inside Pearl Car Wash, an automated 24-hour car wash located on East Valley Parkway in Escondido, California, approximately 50 kilometers northeast of San Diego.

When the investigators arrived at the scene, they found the 56-year-old pinned between his car and a part of the machinery operated at the car wash.

After watching initial surveillance footage, authorities told Fox 5 news that it appeared the man exited his vehicle for an unknown reason and then became stuck after his car began to roll forward and he was trapped between his vehicle and the machinery.

The self-service option at Pearl Car Wash, as described on its website, is open 24 hours and requires the driver to control the progress of the wash, as they’re told to pull forward with ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signage inside the facility.

News Flash Media reported that a police lieutenant for the Escondido department said that an alarm at the location wailed for approximately half an hour before a customer walked over to see what was causing the machine to make the noise.

The department told Fox 5 that the man was initially given CPR by officers at the scene before paramedics arrived to take him to Palomar Medical Center, but he was declared dead a short time after being admitted.

Escondido police said in their statement that the incident is being investigated by Pete McCollough, a traffic investigator with the force, as it’s technically still considered a “traffic collision” and not an industrial accident since the 56-year-old had control of his vehicle the entire time, unlike car washes where the driver is instructed to place their car in neutral and be pulled along the conveyor belt.

Fox 5 confirmed that there were no additional passengers in the car with the man at the time of the incident.

The Independent reached out to The Escondido Police Department for comment on the case but did not hear back.


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