A three-year-old Cleveland boy died in of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning after riding for hours in a van missing a crucial piece, authorities said Thursday.
Lorne Johnson Jr’s father found his son unresponsive in the back seat with vomit around his mouth after running errands on New Year’s Day. The father called 911 and tried unsuccessfully to revive the toddler, who died that day in the hospital.
Authorities said the family’s van had no catalytic converter to properly remove the odorless gas. Lorne had told his father earlier that he felt tired and laid down in the back seat, police reports indicate according to Cleveland.com.
The father and older brother were also treated for elevated carbon monoxide levels.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled Lorne’s death an accident on Thursday.
Authorities believe the little boy stayed two and a half hours in the van. They said the vehicle was missing a catalytic converter, which converts toxic gases coming out of the exhaust pipe.
Without a catalytic converter, carbon monoxide leaked into the passenger compartment.
Lorne’s father told WOIO he had purchased the car a couple of months ago and had been using it frequently, including to drive to and from school.
The 42-year-old gave his son CPR until rescuers arrived. Lorne was taken to Cleveland’s University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where he died around 1:30 pm.
‘I’m OK now but I don’t think I’ll ever be OK,’ he told the network while fighting back tears. ’If I thought for any second I was endangering any one of my children I would never have got that vehicle.’
The distraught father has created a Go Fund Me to cover his son’s funeral costs.