A Ukrainian man who was doing an internship at a Lexington horse hospital has been identified as the man whose body was found Sunday in a burned SUV in Lincoln County.
Oleksandr "Alex" Tysbulko, 24, who was in the United States on a visa, died of smoke inhalation when the Nissan Pathfinder burned on the side of Ky. 39 north of Crab Orchard, Lincoln County Coroner Bill Demrow said.
Tysbulko was an intern at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington. He was an equine veterinary assistant in the advanced training program at McGee Medicine Center, the internal medicine department, said Mary Hinton, director of human resources for Hagyard.
"Alex was a valued and a much-loved member of the Hagyard staff and family," Hinton said. "We're all very saddened by this loss. This is a big loss for us."
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Tysbulko was identified through dental records. Kentucky State Police are investigating the death, but Demrow said foul play is not suspected.
Lincoln County firefighters were called about a burning vehicle at 4:28 a.m. Sunday, and Tysbulko's body was found in the middle seat of the SUV. The vehicle had been headed south on Ky. 39 toward Crab Orchard when it got stuck.
The origin of the fire has not been determined, Demrow said, but it's possible that the vehicle, registered in Tysbulko's name, overheated during the repeated attempts to get it out of a muddy roadside spot.
"He got off of the right-hand side of the road and into a ditch and simply became stuck in the mud," Demrow said. "He had sat there a while trying to free the car and couldn't do it. We have to assume that he simply said, 'I'm just going to stay here till morning.' ... You could tell by the condition of the ground where the car was sitting that it had gone back and forth, back and forth in an attempt to get out by spinning the tires."
Hagyard plans to have a memorial service for Tysbulko, Hinton said. Other funeral arrangements are pending.