Laura Miller and Husband Sued for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Over-Garage Guest Room

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Tim Rogers over at D Magazine breaks the story that former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and her husband, Steve Wolens, are being sued by a former girlfriend of Mr. Wolen’s brother, who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in a guest suite above their garage on Dentwood.

Tim says he has so many questions.

I do, too.

Apparently Miller and Wolens were not able to work out a settlement with their houseguests. Well, one of them: the girlfriend. She and the brother were found unconscious in an over-the-garage guest room or guest house, when one of Miller/Wolen’s Mercedes was accidentally left running in the garage all night. Keyless Mercedes (and BMW, including Mini; Fiat Chrysler; Ford ; General Motors; and Honda, including Acura) apparently do not turn off when left unattended for a certain period of time. The lawsuit says the guest was taken to the hospital unconscious. (What about the brother?) From the lawsuit:

Unknown to Plaintiff Tebaldi, Defendants, Steve Wolens and/or Laura Miller had left their car running in the garage of their home below the bedroom where Plaintiff Tebaldi was sleeping. The next morning, July 12, 2016, Plaintiff Tebaldi had not awoken and had missed her dental appointment. Defendant Steve Wolens asked the housekeeper to check on Mr. Gary Wolens and Plaintiff Tebaldi, and she found them in the bedroom above the garage unconscious and unresponsive. Plaintiff Tebaldi was not breathing and an ambulance was called. Plaintiff Tebaldi was transported to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital where she was admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning. Plaintiff Tebaldi suffered serious injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide. When medical professionals concluded that it was medically safe for Plaintiff Tebaldi to travel, she was transported back to the United Kingdom by air ambulance where Plaintiff Tebaldi was hospitalized to continue her treatment and care.

Aside from what the conversation will be this Sunday on Father’s Day, we should all wonder why houses are not built with carbon monoxide detectors in critical areas, especially when there is living space above. The Miller/Wolens home is vintage 1952, has about 9,000 square feet, and was totally renovated in the mid 2000’s. If it were up to me, I’d have carbon monoxide detectors in almost every room. In fact, I do.

For those who do not, you can buy carbon monoxide detectors at Walmart for less than $30.

Maybe the City of Dallas should require these in all homes or in living spaces above the garage? What are your thoughts?

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Becky Rader says

    Hi Candy!
    Carbon monoxide is serious. This is not the first time attached garages with cars left running has caused injury to occupants.
    I agree that CM detectors should be required in all homes, just like smoke detectors are.
    Cars should have them too in light of recent manufacture issues with some cars used for police departments, in fact I am thinking of testing one in my car!

  2. Rabbi Hedda LaCasa says

    California requires residential smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Is this an issue of excessive governmental regulation within private homes or an example of governmental responsibility to protect its citizenry?

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