LYNNWOOD, Wash., January 10—The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Jacqueline J. Buchan, 76, of Everett who was found deceased in a parked car in a Lynnwood parking lot on Wednesday, December 21. The cause of death was environmental hypothermia, and it was ruled accidental.
Lynnwood Police Officers were dispatched to the Walmart parking lot located near the 17200 block of Highway 99 in Lynnwood, that afternoon, after a reporting party called in a woman who was unresponsive inside of her vehicle.
Maren McKay, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for LPD, told the Lynnwood Times that officers observed that Buchan had been deceased for “a few days” and appeared to be living out of her vehicle.
Weather history documented lows of 20oF with light snow fall in Lynnwood the day Buchan was found. Days earlier, December 19, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning with expected heavy snow.
“Freezing rain is the name of the game across the state really Thursday PM into Saturday, which means lots of icy conditions,” the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted the day Buchan was found. “This is a big deal, whether sticking close to home or traveling for the holidays. Please be prepared for really challenging conditions.”
Washington State Troopers responded to over 200 crashes across three counties that week due to icy road conditions, and hundreds of flights were cancelled at SeaTac Airport after ice froze over the runways.
At least 57 people died during last months’ freezing winter conditions nationwide, after a number of drivers were left stranded on the side of snow-covered and icy highway and interstates, NBC News reported. Frigid conditions were especially deadly in New York’s Erie County, where 27 of these deaths occurred during a devasting blizzard.
Despite hazardous, icy, roads, there was no indication Buchan was a stranded motorist nor was her vehicle frozen shut McCkay shared with the Lynnwood Times. However, the CDC explained that hypothermia is caused due to prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures when the body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced.
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