2 boys remain critical; Exhaust fumes overcome pair.
LUNENBURG - Two boys rendered unconscious Friday night after apparent carbon monoxide poisoning remained in critical condition yesterday.
Police have not released the names of the boys, ages 10 and 11, who were carried out of rough terrain off Route 2A in a mud-splattered Jeep Wrangler. The boys were apparently overcome by fumes when the exhaust of the vehicle they had been sitting in was blocked.
Jason Gowell was at A&R Auto Body on Massachusetts Avenue Friday when his friend Raul Lopez, who owns the business, went off-roading with a pair of friends who had each brought their young sons.
"Raul asked me to go with him, but I told him no because I had a bad feeling," Mr. Gowell said yesterday. "The last time I had a bad feeling we rolled over in that thing," he said, pointing to Mr. Lopez's mud-covered Suzuki Samurai, which had also been on the trip.
That bad feeling resumed some two hours later, when his friends had yet to return from their excursion.
"I tried to call him and two or three minutes later the Jeep rolled up with two kids in the back," Mr. Gowell said. Then he noticed emergency lights in the nearby parking lot of Lunenburg Crossing, the shopping center where off-road drivers often gain access to the rough and swampy acreage.
"I believe they called 911 from the woods," Mr. Gowell said. "There's probably 10 different ways to get into that area."
He said he has known one of the men and his son for years, calling the Fitchburg man "a great guy" whose son often accompanied him to the shop where they were working on his Jeep.
He said Mr. Lopez was grief-stricken and keeping vigil with the man and his injured son at Children's Hospital in Boston. He said he did not know the other people on the trip.
The Jeep Cherokee that was part of the group Friday got stuck in the rough terrain, Mr. Gowell said.
"Just last week I was out there and I almost bit my tongue off," he said. "It's real rough out there."
The boys were placed in the Jeep Cherokee for warmth as the men tried to extract it, he added. The Wrangler is equipped with a winch, and as it was being connected to the Cherokee, Mr. Gowell said, one of the men noticed the boys were unconscious. They had been in the Cherokee for about 10 minutes, he said.
One of the boys was blue when they pulled into the parking lot by the garage, he said.
"Both of them were bad, real bad," he said. "It's definitely too bad."
One of the boys was taken to Children's Hospital in Boston, the other to UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus in Worcester.
Lunenburg police and the Worcester district attorney's office are investigating the matter.
Contact Matthew Bruun by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Apr 27, 2008|
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