A daughter whose father tragically lost his life when he became trapped in his car says she’s still in shock over his death.
Tricia Hernandez told INSIDE EDITION that her dad, James Rogers, always wanted to own a sports car and when he bought his 2007 Chevy Corvette, it became his prized possession.
“It's always been his dream car,” he daughter said. “He thinks if you own a Corvette, a sports car, you've finally made it.”
Last June, James had breakfast at a local Waffle House in Port Arthur, Texas, before getting into his beloved Corvette with his dog. When he shut the car door, authorities say the vehicle was suddenly without power, apparently because a battery cable became loose.
Corvettes made after 2004 are one of the few cars in existence that do not have door handles. Without power the electric door release button would not work.
The 72-year old U.S. Army veteran tried desperately to escape and couldn't call for help because he had forgotten his cell phone.
The heat index that day reached over 98 degrees.
His body was discovered four hours later, behind the wheel. His dog was found at his side, also dead.
His son, Troy says his father's last hours must have been agonizing.
“He had the owner's manual laying in his lap trying to find a way to get out,” Troy said.
Even more tragic is that there was a simple way out. When you're stuck in a Corvette made after 2004 and you lose battery power, there's a manual release and you just pull up on it.
James Rogers could have instantly opened the door with the pull of a lever if he only knew it was there.
Certified automotive technician and Corvette expert Dennis Hemmerly of The Vette Doctors showed INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero what probably happened.
First he disconnected the battery cable in a 2005 Corvette.
Guerrero said: “Now I’m stuck in the car I can't get out using the electronics system. I'm stuck. And I can't open the door. It's not working electronically. But all I had to do was open it manually. It worked.”
Larry Webster, Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track, said motorists should read their owner’s manual.
“This problem of locking yourself in your car is imminently fixable,” he said. “Just know your car.”
Tricia said: “You would never think that something he dreamt about his whole life, would take his life.”
A spokesperson for Corvette called James Rogers death extremely sad and said they encourage owners of new and used vehicles to familiarize themselves with the ways to exit the vehicle.