FedEx delivers an estimated nine million packages a day. That’s a lot of boxes on a lot of trucks driven by a lot of drivers. And, for the most part, those packages are harmless and drivers don’t need to know what’s in each box.
But what if a driver is delivering a potentially dangerous package? What if they’re delivering dozens of them, filled with frozen carbon dioxide, which, if it turns into CO2 gas, can lead to fatal hypercapnia?
Boxes Labeled Perishable
Karen Drake Jackson says she had no idea the 47 boxes she delivered for FedEx contained dry ice. “A few of the boxes were labeled perishable,” her lawsuit against the company claims, “but the overwhelming majority had no label on them. None of the boxes were labeled as containing dry ice.” Dry ice can be dangerous when it sublimates into large quantities of carbon dioxide gas in a non-ventilated environment.
And that’s exactly what happened in Jackson’s case. The driver alleges she would’ve died had it not been for the intervention of a local police officer:
At approximately 5:40 P.M. the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department dispatched an officer to 24701 Watson Road in Montgomery County to check on a white van parked by the side of the road. When he arrived, the officer found “a black female laying from the driver seat and slumped over into the passenger seat.” After attempting to open all doors but finding them locked, the officer broke the small front window on the driver’s side with his baton and, with the assistance of a medic, removed Karen Drake Jackson, who was unconscious, from inside the van.
When a HAZMAT team arrived and investigated the delivery, it found boxes labeled “Little Big Fudge” and found 47 boxes “filled with dry ice that was melting, releasing CO2 which displaced the oxygen and caused the medical emergency.” Jackson is also suing the company that sent the boxes, TecMac.
Jackson was rushed to the hospital and has remained under medical care since the incident in August 2016. Her suit claims she suffered “acute hypoxia and a convulsive type episode … respiratory failure, major neurocognitive disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.” She’s suing FedEx and TecMac for negligence in failing to warn her the boxes contained dry ice and were therefore dangerous to deliver, and for failing to have any policies requiring shippers to warn drivers that packages could be potentially dangerous.
She’s asking for at least $200,000 to compensate for her injuries, physical pain, mental anguish, and lost income.