(1998) A 39-year-old Charlottesville man died Thursday in a freak accident involving his washing machine. According to police reports, Samuel Randolph Strickson was doing laundry when he tried to speed up the process. Strickson apparently tried to stuff approximately 50 pounds of laundry into his washing machine by climbing on top of the washer and attempting to force the clothing into the basin. Strickson then apparently accidentally kicked the washing machine's ON button. When the machine turned on, Strickson lost his balance and both feet went down into the machine, where they got stuck.|
The machine started its cycle, and Strickson, unable to free himself, started thrashing around as the machine's agitator went into gear. Strickson's head banged against a nearby shelf in the laundry room, knocking over a bottle of bleach, which poured over Strickson's face, blinding him. Forensic reports
say Strickson apparently also swallowed some of the bleach. He then vomited, but was still unable to free himself. Strickson's dog, then apparently came into the laundry room.|
At about the same time, according to police, a large box of baking soda fell from the shelf, startling the dog, who then urinated. Urine, like vinegar, is acidic, and the chemical reaction between the urine and the baking soda resulted in "a small explosion," according to police reports. The dog, however, escaped unharmed. Strickson remained stuck in the washing machine, which eventually went into its high-speed spin cycle, spinning Strickson around at about 70 miles per hour, according to forensic experts. Strickson's head then smashed against a steel beam behind the washing machine, immediately killing him. A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911, but Strickson was pronounced dead at the scene.