Couple dies after car left running in New Smyrna Beach garage, deputies say

William, Dorothy Whitehurst, of West Virginia, found dead in home


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A couple in their 90s died Sunday after investigators say a car was left running in their garage directly below the bedroom of their New Smyrna Beach home.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded at 5:45 p.m. to the South Atlantic Avenue home after a family friend requested they checked on William Whitehurst, 93, and Dorothy Whitehurst, 91, who were found them dead lying in their bed. The Whitehursts were from West Virginia, according to the incident report.

A car with the key in the ignition in the “on” position was found in the garage and the battery was dead, deputies said. Firefighters performed a carbon monoxide check on the vehicle and detected levels high enough to incapacitate a person or cause death, according to a news release.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless poisonous gas that can cause illness or death if a person is exposed to a concentrated amount.

Deputies said it appears the couple was sleeping in bed before they died. Their son called a family friend to check on them Sunday. The family friend said he last saw the couple alive on Friday and they were in good health, according to the report.

The medical examiner will determine the official cause of death, however, Sheriff’s Office officials said at this point all signs point to carbon monoxide poisoning.