Woman Unknowingly Poisons Her Friends After Purposefully Turning Off Her Car’s Check Engine Light

Always take your check engine light seriously.

woman experiences nausea and headache while driving DimaBerlin / Shutterstock

On a snowy winter day in Massachusetts, one woman was hanging out with some friends and eating Chick-fil-A in her 2004 Honda CRV when they were all suddenly overwhelmed with feelings of fatigue and nausea. 

Unable to think straight, they couldn’t understand what was going on, but a trip to the hospital revealed they had all been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

The woman took to TikTok to share the frightening experience that she hadn’t seen coming.

The woman, Tish, took to TikTok and explained how, during her senior year in college, she and two of her friends were hungover and had gone out to get pedicures.


Afterward, they decided to stop at a Chick-fil-A drive-through for lunch. After waiting in the drive-through line for a long time, the girls were so famished that they decided to just pull over and eat their food in the car.

Tish backed her car into a parking spot near a snow bank, and they began eating and chatting with each other.



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Once they finished their meals, Tish started back home, but as she was driving, she said she suddenly couldn’t feel her arms. She felt awful, and she couldn’t think straight. Stunned by these unfamiliar feelings, she wasn’t sure how to react. 

But after she spoke up and mentioned what she was feeling to her friends, they said they were experiencing the same symptoms.

“In the back seat, one of my other friends goes, ‘Oh, my God, thank God you just said something … I feel so horrible right now, I feel so nauseous, I have a splitting headache,’” Tish reiterated.

Then, her other friend in the passenger seat admitted to the same feelings of sickness and fatigue.


Unable to continue driving, Tish pulled over, and the three girls panicked as their symptoms worsened.

One of her friends began throwing up on the side of the road; they all had migraines, they couldn’t see or think straight, and they were having trouble forming words.

While they were hungover, they knew a hangover wouldn’t bring about such concerning symptoms out of nowhere.

“We feel like we’re on another … planet,” Tish expressed. “None of us have taken drugs. We’re lightly hungover, but we’ve just had Chick-fil-A and a pedicure, like, we should be good by now.”



Being close to their college campus, a member of their school’s basketball team noticed their upheaval and pulled over to see if they were okay.


“They’re like, ‘Are you guys okay?’ because we’re having breakdowns on the side of the road,” Tish said. “And for some reason, I don’t know why she said this, she was like, ‘What, do you guys have like carbon monoxide poisoning or something?’”

At first, Tish and her friends denied this, but after some research on Google, they discovered that maybe that was the case, and so they went to the ER.

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The 3 girls were all triaged at the same time, and the doctor informed them that they did, in fact, have carbon monoxide poisoning.

The doctor asked them how this happened, and Tish suddenly remembered a car inspection she had six months ago.


During the inspection, the mechanics assessed her car’s engine because its check engine light was on, and they discovered that there was a leak in her Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP).

The EVAP system prevents gasoline fumes from leaking into the atmosphere. When a leak occurs, these flammable fumes escape into the air around the vehicle, creating a serious fire hazard and also risking potential exposure.

Woman Unknowingly Poisons Her Friends After Purposefully Turning Off Her Car’s Check Engine Light Photo: Virgmos / Shutterstock


Not understanding the severity of the matter, Tish wanted to brush this off, but she needed to somehow pass the inspection. All it took was a Google search to find out how to turn off her check engine light, which she did by unscrewing her car’s battery with a wrench, and she was able to pass the inspection.

Unfortunately, Tish didn’t realize the risk. Choosing to avoid dealing with this serious issue could have resulted in fatal consequences.

Tish’s experience is an important reminder to always repair car malfunctions, especially an EVAP system leak.

Additionally, because Tish had parked right in front of a snow bank, the snow blocked her car’s tailpipe, preventing its exhaust from escaping. The carbon monoxide entered through her car’s heating system, which can occur without a leak.


Tish and her friends were inhaling poison — the carbon monoxide was displacing the oxygen in their bloodstream, causing their bodies to slowly suffocate from oxygen deprivation. 

There are varying levels of carbon monoxide poisoning, and luckily, Tish and her friends’ poisoning was likely only acute. Still, if Tish had ignored this problem, exposure to this gas could have resulted in permanent damage.

“Even with treatment, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in a lifetime of impairments and other effects that can change your life,” according to the Wyatt Law Firm.


Overall, Tish and her friends were very lucky to have survived this incident. 

If you notice your car’s check engine light go on, your health and safety are always worth whatever inconvenience repairing the malfunction might be.  

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human interest, adventure, and spirituality topics.