Professional Carwashing & Detailing

SUA kills carwash employee

January 6, 2011

ROCKVILLE, MD — An incident involving a Jeep SUV has led to the death of a carwash worker at Flagship Carwash after the vehicle suddenly accelerated while exiting the carwash’s tunnel, the Rockville Patch reported.

The Dec. 29 story, which also includes video footage, said the incident occurred on Dec. 29 when an employee driving the Jeep struck two employees who were drying off a car. The Jeep then went across the street, dragging the two men, before hitting a telephone pole.

Gavino Euseda, 48, was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries. Another employee was taken to the hospital with critical injuries.

Employee Julio Cesar Coreas-Portillo, 27, was the one driving the Jeep and apparently tried to help the two men who where hit.

A police officer at the scene of the incident said customers also tried to help the two men and lift the Jeep before fire and rescue crews arrived.

Dan Friz, a Montgomery County Police spokesman, said in the story, “Unfortunately, due to the way the vehicle is resting against the guide wire for the [utility] lines, as well as the impact with the curb, they really had to wait for the heavy-duty rescue trucks.”

Customers' cars were gridlocked in line for the carwash's tunnel for about an hour as rescue workers tried to handle the scene.

County police and OSHA representatives are investigating the incident.

Eric Wulf, executive director and CEO of the International Carwash Association, spoke to PC&D about how carwashes can stop and prevent SUA incidents. “International Carwash Association has received dozens of reports of sudden acceleration by carwash operators over the years through our online reporting form. Through reviewing those reports and speaking to the operators involved, we have gathered several best handling practices that may reduce or eliminate the possibility of sudden acceleration occurring. The practices are available on our website, carwash.org. Most notably, we have not received any reports of sudden acceleration when vehicles are started in park and engine speed is verified to be normal prior to shifting into gear.”

To find out about the other SUA incidents that have occurred throughout North America, refer to the interactive map on the homepage of the eNewsletter.