updated 12/16/2008 4:03:22 PM ET 2008-12-16T21:03:22

A man who was killed in a car crash was left dead in the crumpled vehicle when it was towed away, and the body was not discovered until family members found it two days later, police said.

An officer who handled the crash failed to check the vehicle before it was towed, said Martin Flask, safety director in Cleveland. The police department is reviewing the case.

Emil Azzam, 50, died instantly from head and neck injuries when his car crashed on Friday on a snowy roadway, the Cuyahoga County coroner ruled.

The car was not far from a multivehicle accident, and witnesses had described Azzam's car as an abandoned vehicle, police said.

But the family said paramedics found the phone number of a friend of Azzam's in the car and notified him of the crash.

The family rushed to the hospital that the paramedic had mentioned to the friend, but Azzam never arrived, said Victoria Green, his sister-in-law.

"It was like he vanished from Earth," she said. "We had been searching for him for two days."

Relatives are outraged and plan to sue the city, said John Lemieux, their lawyer.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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