Police Chief Says Two Newport Men Died of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

MARCH 2, 2006 - Posted at 10:39 a.m. CST

NEWPORT, AR - Authorities said two Newport men whose bodies were found February 19 in a parked truck inside a closed garage died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ricky Billingsley, Sr., 49, and 51-year-old Tyrell Watkins were in Billingsley's pick-up in Billingsley's garage.  Police said the ignition was turned off, and there was gasoline in the engine.

Newport Police Chief Mike Scudder said authorities at first thought the deaths were drug-related.  He said detectives found some evidence of drug use inside the vehicle.  However, at the time of the incident, NPD detective Donnie Schulz told K8 News that foul play was not suspected in the deaths.

The state medical examiner's office found fatally high levels of carbon monoxide in the mens' blood, indicating that they died from inhaling the truck's fumes.

Scudder said it's possible that the men left the engine on only for a brief moment to warn themselves up in the garage.  Scudder said it's a very small garage and the fumes could have overwhelmed them before they knew it.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)