ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
68°
Mostly Cloudy
H 73° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    68°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 73° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    70°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 73° L 59°
  • clear-night
    61°
    Morning
    Mostly Clear. H 80° L 64°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States
Close

Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States

Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States
(Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States

Constance Petot didn't think twice about the push button starter on her car until it almost killed her and her toddler last Valentine's Day.

>> Read more trending news

"He just went completely limp in my arms. It's the most terrifying moment in my entire life," said Petot.

The busy mom was ending her work day with a conference call as she was pulling into the garage of her parents' Florida home, where she was staying.

"As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door," Petot said. "And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button."

The mistake sent carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, flooding through their home as she got 13-month-old Parker ready for bed.

The car was still on after Petot left the garage.

"My son woke up around 12:30 a.m. and was screaming," Petot recalls.

She got out of bed to pick him up.

Petot thinks her son, Parker, may have had a headache because she now knows the level of carbon monoxide at the time was high enough to have killed them within about 20 minutes.

"Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there," Petot said. "And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on."

WSB-TV investigation has tracked more than two dozen injuries and deaths around the country connected to cars with keyless ignitions being left on, with families left wondering how this could happen.

Cars with keyless ignition have no key and are designed to start with the push of a button. But it is also easier to forget to turn off the car.

The family of Bill Thomason and Eugenia (Woo) Thomason say the couple likely never realized their mistake. Their Toyota Avalon ran inside their closed garage for 32 hours as they slept.

"We know that they went to bed that night and didn't wake up the next morning," said Will Thomason, who now lives in Atlanta.

His brother Dave Thomason also lives in the metro area, and they both rushed to Greenville, South Carolina, to get to their parents, but it was too late.

"By the time they were found they were essentially brain dead," said Will Thomason. "You can't prepare for something like this."

The sons say the active retirees had just renewed their wedding vows after 50 years and adored their five grandchildren, who they won't get to see grow up.

"Oh, it's been just absolutely terrible," said Dave Thomason. "We all know that people can get killed in car accidents due to different things, but a car sitting alone, basically doing nothing but running?"

The brothers said their pain is worsened by the number of times they've now heard the same story, with reported deaths and injuries connected to running cars around the country.

The Thomason family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, which has already settled with several of the other families.

"Hell yeah, that makes me angry. I mean, we've lost our parents," said Will Thomason.

"Nobody is in the car, it's been running for however long. The car should have an automatic cutoff. I mean, to me that's a very easy fix," said Dave Thomason.

Records show since 2011 the federal government has been studying the need for an external alert to be placed on cars that have button ignitions, but has yet to require car companies to do anything to include an external alert.

"There's probably 25 other things that car makers do ... for safety. Well, this is a life and death safety thing and it seems to me that this is an easy thing for them to address, and they aren't addressing it," Will Thomason said.

WSB-TV tested more than a dozen of the most popular cars to see what happens when you leave them running and walk away with the key fob.

Most of the cars had a dashboard display that notes that the key fob has left the vehicle. Some even emit a low interior sound, similar to the one that reminds drivers to fasten their seat belts. 

However, if a driver has left the vehicle, he or she wouldn't see that display or hear that warning. Very few of the cars made an exterior noise.

The loudest warning came from the Chevy Impala, which utilizes the car's horn.

Petot didn't hear the three low beeps her car made and she's lived with the guilt ever since.

"I absolutely take responsibility for what happened," she said. "And I think that it could happen to anybody."

But she said the price for being distracted or forgetful should not be death.

"We were incredibly lucky. We absolutely wouldn't be here," Petot said while watching Parker play in their new Marietta home. "He is definitely my little hero Valentine."

Petot said the day they moved in to their new home she purchased carbon monoxide detectors for each of the rooms.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • After posting a schedule for a Monday morning vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court, unable to work out an agreement for testimony from a woman who accused the judge of sexual misconduct back when they were teenagers, Republicans gave extra time to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to consider testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) tweeted late Friday night from his home state of Iowa, as he tried to both press ahead with a vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, and hold open the possibility of testimony from Ford. The late night change of heart created an odd mixture of reaction, as even after Grassley said he was giving more time to Ford’s legal team, Democrats were still churning out news releases after midnight criticizing Republicans for their treatment of the allegations against Kavanaugh. “By blocking both an FBI investigation and a hearing where all three witnesses present during the assault could answer questions under oath, the Senate will fail in its duty to the American people,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive — ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 22, 2018 With all the extensions we give Dr Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I’m playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor — ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 22, 2018 As the sun rose on Saturday morning, it still wasn’t clear whether Ford would testify. “Dr. Blasey Ford has been clear in her desire to testify following an independent, thorough investigation by the FBI,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). But Republicans were still suspicious of the allegations brought by Ford, who says she was sexually attacked by Kavanaugh at a high school party in the 1980’s. “Their decision to reveal this allegation at the most politically damaging moment reeks of opportunism,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Under the timeline originally unveiled by the Judiciary Committee on Friday night, Republicans scheduled a vote for Monday morning on a list of judges, with one prominent name at the top of the list: “Brett M. Kavanaugh, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” it read. The recalcitrance, stubbornness and lack of cooperation we’ve seen from Republicans is unprecedented. And candidly, the dismissive treatment of Dr. Ford is insulting to all sexual assault survivors. — Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 22, 2018 Ford’s lawyers wanted her to testify next Thursday – Grassley and Republicans were offering Wednesday. There was also talk of Ford talking directly to investigators in California, instead of traveling to Washington, D.C.
  • Officially at the airport, the Tulsa area received 2.34 inches of rain on Friday and there is more in the forecast for today. Parts of Tulsa County received a whole lot more rain.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Plate breaks down who received the most. “In the Tulsa area, the heaviest rain was in the southern part of the city,” Plate said.  “It was in the south Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby areas where four to six inches fell.   Statewide, areas around Ada were slammed by showers.  Plate tells us Fittstown received close to 14 inches of rain.  Road Flooding:  Showers in south Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby caused multiple closures in the area. Police confirm South Yale Avenue between 61st and 51st was closed for some time because of water over the road. The same was true for 101st and Garnett in Broken Arrow. The roads have since been reopened. Savastano's at 106th and Memorial in Bixby announced on their Twitter page they were closed due to flooding.
  • Don't put away those umbrellas just yet. National Weather Service Meteorologist Sarah Corfidi says we have a chance for more showers in the Tulsa area today.  Right now, the NWS is predicting a 40 percent chance of rain.   “For Tulsa, it’s going to be mostly cloudy, with some showers still in the area,” Corfidi said.  “The high will be in the low 70’s.” Today is the first day of fall, but the temperature will be below normal for this time of year in our area.  Corfidi tells us the normal high is close to 82 degrees. Any rain we see today should stop by the evening hours.  The low Saturday night will be close to 60 degrees.
  • Ending several days of increasingly political battles over a woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee declared Friday night that they were unable to reach an agreement for the testimony of Kavanaugh’s accuser, and set a committee vote for Monday over the heated objections of Democrats. “It’s Friday night and nothing’s been agreed to despite our extensive efforts to make testimony possible,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Democrats sternly disputed those assertions, charging that Republicans were doing all they could to avoid hearing from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party during their high school years in the early 1980’s. “It’s clear that Republicans have learned nothing over the last 27 years,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), referring to the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, which featured accusations of sexual harassment leveled against him by law professor Anita Hill. Just before the deadline, Ford’s lawyers asked for extra time. Ford lawyer: “The 10:00 p.m. deadline is arbitrary. Its sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family. She has already been forced out of her home…” — Nancy Cordes (@nancycordes) September 22, 2018 But Republicans said enough was enough. “Chairman Grassley has made every effort all week to find a comfortable way for the Senate to hear Dr. Ford’s story, including sending staff to her,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “Delay, delay, delay,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), as the Senate Judiciary Committee website listed a 10 am Monday “Executive Business Meeting,” where Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was the first on the list. Democrats said like with Anita Hill, Ford’s charges merited a review by the FBI, and then hearings by the Judiciary Committee; but the White House and Senate Republicans resisted those calls. “This strikes us as simply a check-the-box exercise in a rush to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” a group of Democratic Senators wrote in a joint letter. “The 11 Republican men on the committee are treating this like a hostage situation,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). “They just don’t get it.” Democrats also expressed outrage about President Trump’s first real comments directed at Kavanaugh’s accuser, as the President took to Twitter on Friday morning to say that Ford should have gone to the police 36 years ago if something bad happened. “When women speak up about sexual assault they should be listened to and supported, not bullied, rushed, or given artificial deadlines,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who was elected partly in 1992 because of the political backlash to how Republicans dealt with Anita Hill’s allegations against Justice Thomas. To every survivor of sexual assault: WE BELIEVE YOU. WE HAVE YOUR BACK. https://t.co/Zx23ePG1ez — Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 22, 2018 If Republicans move ahead with a vote in committee on Monday, they could push the Kavanaugh nomination through the full Senate – even with Democrats using every delaying tactic in the book – by the end of next week, just in time to get the judge confirmed before the Supreme Court’s term begins on the First Monday in October.
  • A ferry that overturned on Lake Victoria has resulted in 100 deaths so far and hundreds feared missing, the BBC reported Friday. >> Read more trending news  Only 37 people were rescued Thursday before poor visibility ended the search, CNN reported. Forty-four bodies were recovered Thursday and the rest were recovered Friday, Reuters reported. The MV Nyerere ferry was headed from Bugorora when overturned near Ukara island, the BBC reported. The precise number of those aboard the ferry when it capsized was hard to establish, officials said, but it was believed that at least 300 people were on board. Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, touches the borders of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.