'Horrific': Teen Dies While Trapped in Minivan's Backseat

Investigation into Cincinnati tragedy has been launched
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2018 6:30 PM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2018 2:21 AM CDT
In this Tuesday night, April 10, 2018 photo, a minivan is removed from the parking lot near the Seven Hills School campus in Cincinnati.   (Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)
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(Newser) – A horrifying—and perplexing—case out of Cincinnati: A 16-year-old boy died Tuesday after two panicked calls to 911 in which he relayed that he was trapped and dying inside his minivan in the parking lot of his school. "I probably don't have much time left, so tell my mom I love her if I die," Kyle Jacob Plush said in the first call, which came just after 3pm. He "gasped, cried repeatedly for help, and struggled to communicate with the operator" during that call, WCPO reports, but ultimately the call cut off. Officers went to the scene but couldn't find the van and thought the call might have been a joke. But Kyle called 911 again and insisted it was not: "I am trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills," he said. "Send officers immediately. I'm almost dead." Kyle's body wasn't found until nearly six hours later, after his family was told he had not shown up to a tennis match as planned.

His mom used an app to determine his phone was in the school parking lot; family members arrived there around 9pm to find him, unresponsive, in his unlocked car, the AP reports. A source tells Cincinnati.com he had climbed onto the third-row bench seat to retrieve tennis equipment from the back of the van when the seat flipped toward the back hatch, trapping Kyle upside-down beneath it. "The young man was trapped in the third row bench seat, and it [was] positional asphyxiation" that killed him, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said while announcing a comprehensive investigation into Plush's death. Police Chief Eliot Isaac called it a "horrific tragedy" and said something went "terribly wrong"; he said information from Kyle's 911 calls did not get relayed to officers at the scene, and Cincinnati.com reports the dispatcher, who has been placed on administrative leave, seemed to struggle to understand him. Police are investigating whether human error or an equipment malfunction played a role. (Read more freak accident stories.)

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