Last year Tom Putt, 20, and friend Nikki Willis, 23, were found dead in England by mysterious circumstances in Putt’s modified Ford Fiesta ST. Now the cause of death has been determined: those mods killed them both by carbon monoxide poisoning, according to law enforcement officials.
The detective inspector responsible for the inquiry described this as “a unique set of events,” as The Telegraph reports, and that’s apt. Nothing that Putt did to his Ford should have been fatal.
All Putt did was remove the catalytic converter on his exhaust and put vents into his hood. It did make the car shoot flames (as seen in Putt’s video below he posted two weeks before his death), but again, neither of these changes should have poisoned Putt and Willis, who were seen sitting and chatting in the car before their deaths.
The detective inspector explained that a gap between the engine and the exhaust made for an exhaust leak, one that went up through Putt’s hood vents and into the car’s fresh air intakes for the cabin:
“A unique set of events came together to allow this tragic incident to happen. A gap in the exhaust system where the exhaust meets the engine allowed fumes to escape.
“Compounded by the fact the car had had its catalytic converter removed (which normally dissipates harmful emissions). Vents underneath the windscreen wipers then in-took the emissions from the gaps in the bonnet.”
This goes to show that there’s nothing wrong with proper modifications themselves, but there can be danger when it comes to modifying your own car to your own “good enough” standards. This was a freak set of circumstances, but poor mods cost Putt and his friend their lives.