(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — An autopsy is scheduled today on the body of a Nashville restaurateur who died after being stuck in a cafe refrigerator overnight, despite pressing a burglar alarm that called police to the scene.
Jay Luther, 47, was found dead Monday morning in the cooler of the Germantown East Cafe. Luther, who was co-owner of the cafe, likely died after “being overcome by carbon dioxide given off by the dry ice,” police said in a statement.
The restaurant had been closed for the weekend because of a planned power outage. Dry ice had been used to keep food cool for the weekend, police said.
There were no signs of foul play, but Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson has ordered a review of police response to the incident, which could have saved Luther’s life.
When Luther went to check on the food Sunday night, he became stuck. The internal latch had reportedly been malfunctioning prior to the weekend, police said.
The restaurateur didn’t have his cellphone, but he tripped the burglar alarm in the cooler, hoping officers would respond to free him.
Three officers and one sergeant arrived within five minutes of receiving the call, but did not investigate after “they found the building to be dark and all doors secure.”
“Given that the restaurant was totally secured and closed, and given that electrical surges have been known to cause errant alarms, the officers elected not to force their way into the restaurant. The alarm call was coded as false,” the department said in a statement.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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