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Lebanon — The deaths of two University of Connecticut Dining Services employees who were found in a parked car in Lebanon Monday morning were caused by a defect in the car’s exhaust system.
Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Friday the exhaust problem allowed deadly carbon monoxide to get inside the car, killing both a Lebanon man and a Hebron woman.
Police said Casey Senechal, 26, with a last known address of 26 First St., Lebanon, and Brittany Holland, 25, of 51 Slocum St., Hebron, died from carbon monoxide poisoning, based on an autopsy conducted by the chief medical examiner’s office Tuesday.
According to state police, the death was accidental and the investigation is finished.
“Case is closed,” Vance said Friday morning.
State police at Troop K in Colchester received a call at 8:50 a.m. Monday from a passerby who observed two occupants who appeared to be in distress in a parked car on Smith Road in Lebanon with the engine running.
Vance said the car was not against a snow bank, a possible cause of carbon monoxide poisoning involving vehicles in the winter.
“It was in a wide open space,” Vance said.
Both the individuals, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, were employees of the UConn Dining Services Department.
Senechal was a chef and Holland was a kitchen assistant, both in Union Street Market in the Student Union at UConn.
Senechal was a 2006 graduate of Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon while Holland graduated from RHAM High School, according to her Facebook page.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define carbon monoxide as an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death.
It is frequently associated with combustion engines in cars, but it is also a threat in homes from faulty furnaces, heaters and gas-powered generators.
Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
To avoid CO poisoning from vehicles, the CDC recommends having a mechanic check the exhaust system annually.