Police Rule Turton’s Death Accidental

Posted March 16, 2011 at 5:08pm

After two months of questioning and testing, the Metropolitan Police Department closed its investigation into the death of Ashley Turton, a well-known lobbyist found dead in her burning car in January.

The MPD released a statement Wednesday ruling Turton’s death an accident and attributing the cause to smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

The 37-year-old mother of three was behind the wheel of her BMW sport utility vehicle and preparing to pull out of her garage early on the morning of Jan. 10 when she lost consciousness and control of her SUV, according to the MPD statement. The SUV crashed into a workbench inside the garage, igniting a fire in the engine compartment.

The fire then spread to the garage and engulfed Turton’s vehicle while she was unconscious, the statement said.

Similar results were released last month by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia. The autopsy report said Turton had “acute alcohol intoxication” at the time of her death and passed out while attempting to drive out of her garage on the 800 block of A Street Southeast.

Turton worked as a lobbyist for the Raleigh, N.C.-based utility giant Progress Energy, which announced a $13.7 billion merger with Duke Energy Corp. on the day of her death. She was the former chief of staff to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and the wife of Dan Turton, the White House liaison to the House.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.