A tragic and cautionary tale out of Passaic, NJ, as much of the East Coast wakes Monday to cars that are still snowed in: A 23-year-old mother and her 1-year-old son are dead of carbon monoxide poisoning after they sat in a warming car while the woman's boyfriend worked to dig it out; the New York Times reports the vehicle was buried up to its hood and trunk. As such, the Mazda's exhaust pipe was submerged in snow, forcing the odorless gas into the car. Sashalynn Rosa and son Messiah "were watching the father dig out the car," says a detective with the Passaic PD. Felix Bonilla Jr. phoned for help just after 8pm on Saturday after realizing Rosa and their two kids were no longer conscious.
Emergency responders were unable to revive the mother and boy; a 3-year-old girl remained in "very critical condition" as of Sunday. "The doctors say they don't think she's going to make it. Doctor says she has a slight chance to make it," the girl's grandfather, Felix Bonilla, tells ABC7. "And my son. He's not doing good. Real bad." NJ.com has a reminder via police to always verify your tailpipe has clearance during large snowfalls before starting your vehicle. While at least 31 people have died as a result of the storm, from causes as varied as heart attacks while shoveling snow to a car crash with a salt truck, the AP reports the carbon monoxide deaths appear to be the only fatalities recorded in New Jersey. (In a previous storm, this woman got stuck in a snowbank inside her car for 13 hours.)