Man Working on His Jeep Died After the Vehicle Apparently Fell Off Jacks During California Earthquake: Police

Screenshot: CBC (YouTube)
Screenshot: CBC (YouTube)

A Nevada man working on his late-1940s Willys CJ-2A died after the vehicle fell off jacks during an earthquake earlier this month, local police believe. This may be the first reported casualty resulting from one of two major earthquakes that hit the Ridgecrest, California region approximately 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Here’s what we know.


On the afternoon of July 9, officers from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada headed to the town of Pahrump “for report of a man beneath a vehicle,” the department states in a press release. Upon arrival, they found a deceased 56-year-old man pinned under what appears to be a Willys CJ-2A. According to police’s assessment of “timing and circumstances at the scene,” the death may have been a “result of the vehicle falling off the jacks on July 4 during the earthquake.”

Authorities found that earthquake to be a magnitude 6.4 with an epicenter near Ridgecrest, California, and it was followed up the following day by a 7.1.

The sheriff’s department’s press release states that the vehicle had been “jacked up safely” and that, “based on the positioning of the body and the tools on the scene, the male appeared to be working on the vehicle at the time of his death.”

According to NBC News, if police finish their investigation and conclude that the earthquake was indeed a factor in this incident, this could be the first reported death resulting from the July 4 and July 5 earthquakes.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office’s full video press release is shown below. Be mindful that there are images that apparently blur out the deceased man on the ground at the base of his Jeep.

The images show the vehicle on gravel, with what looks like a high-lift jack and cinder blocks nearby.

I’ve reached out to the Sheriff’s Office to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of a man who was apparently wrenching on his awesome old Jeep.

h/t: Geoff, Travis, Aaron

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.


CarsofFortLangley - Oppo Forever

I work in an industry where I respond to natural disasters among other things. I’ve attended many seminars on earthquakes and my mind always wonders to scenarios like this.

When an earthquake strikes, spare a thought for those working under cars, getting dental work done, having intense surgery or various other horrifying things.