MIAMI – Two college students were found dead in a parked minivan along a Florida roadside, apparent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. The van's engine was still running when they were discovered, authorities said.
A sheriff's deputy was on routine patrol west of Fort Lauderdale when he spotted the vehicle near Weston around dawn Sunday. The windows were fogged up and a tail light was out. The exhaust system of the minivan was "in disrepair," officials said.
"There was still gas in the car," said Hugh Graf, a spokesman with the Broward County sheriff's office. "They probably just fell asleep. There was no smell, nothing."
The victims were identified as 19-year-old Janelle Bertot and Tony Perez, 25. Both attended Florida International University (search).
"They were apparently popular and very loved students who were very involved in the university," FIU spokeswoman Maydel Santana-Bravo said.
Perez was president of Pi Kappa Phi (search) at FIU. Bertot was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and was named Freshman of the Year in 2003, according to the sorority's Web site. They had been dating for about a month, friends said.
Carbon monoxide (search) is a colorless, odorless gas which is the No. 1 cause of poisoning in the United States each year.