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Car wash employee killed after becoming trapped in machinery

A 26-year-old North Carolina woman died after picking up a shift at a car wash and becoming trapped in its machinery.
Car wash employee killed after becoming trapped in machinery
Posted at 7:39 PM, Jan 18, 2024

A North Carolina woman was killed Saturday after becoming trapped in equipment at a car wash, where she had been working a shift.

Weaverville authorities responded to the incident at ZIPS Car Wash just after 6:30 p.m. and pronounced Carolina "Brea" Franks dead at the scene, noting she had suffered a traumatic injury.

Franks' grandmother told the Asheville Citizen-Times the 26-year-old, whom she had raised since the age of 6, had been in Kentucky earlier that day and hadn't been scheduled for the shift. But when another employee canceled, Franks filled in. 

She had been employed at the car wash for five months before her death, according to her grandmother, who told WLOS Franks was a hard worker who cared about the job.

In her obituary, Franks was also described as someone who "loved life and was a very cheerful and happy person. Everyone enjoyed being around her. She was a bright light in the lives of many. Brea was loved by those who were blessed to know her and will be dearly missed."

Franks' cause of death and how she became stuck in the car wash weren't immediately clear. 

The location remains closed while the North Carolina Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) investigates the incident with the cooperation of ZIPS Corporate, according to a spokesperson for the company.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our team member's family in this time of loss. This is such an unfortunate tragedy," the spokeswoman said, per WLOS.

ZIPS Car Wash is the largest privately held car wash operator in the U.S., with more than 250 locations across 25 states.

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