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Family Sues Over Trooper Squad Car Death


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  • Family Sues Over Trooper Squad Car Death

    News Break

    06/18/2003 11:21:42 EST

    Family Sues Over Trooper Squad Car Death
    The family of a state trooper who was killed last month in a squad car
    fire sued Ford Motor
    Co., blaming the blaze in part on the location of the car's fuel tank.

    A similar lawsuit was filed by a man who was sitting next to Micheal
    Newton after the
    trooper pulled him over and was injured in the wreck.

    The lawsuits, filed Tuesday in Jackson County by Newton's family and
    Michael Nolte of
    Leawood, Kan., were the latest claims against Ford over the design of
    the Crown Victoria
    Police Interceptor.

    Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said she couldn't comment on the suits
    but said the cars are
    not defective.

    She said deaths attributed to the fuel tank's location - between the
    rear axle and rear
    bumper - were instead a result of the high speeds at which patrol cars
    have been struck
    alongside highways.

    "The issue is the really unique use of the vehicle," Kinley said.

    Newton, 25, was killed May 22 when his parked patrol car was struck by
    a pickup that was
    towing a flatbed trailer on Interstate 70 in western Missouri.

    Passersby were able to pull Nolte from the car, but Newton was pinned
    and burned to death.

    Since 1983, at least 14 officers have died when the gas tanks of their
    Crown Victorias
    caught fire after the cars were hit from behind.

    The suits, which seek unspecified damages, also name the company that
    owned the pickup
    truck, saying its driver was negligent.

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  • #2
    Our units are currently being "retro fitted" for whatever that's worth.
    It makes me wonder with all the technology available from NASCAR, Formula 1, CART, etc, who are using more volatile fuels and crashing at times at speeds in excess of 200 mph, they can't come up with a safer solution.
    " Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words." - Calvin


    • #3
      I told my wife to sue if I die in one of those fires. How many Crown Vic cars are used in police work? It isn't that unique and since at least 1993 Ford has known of the design limitation and hasn't fixed it. They know how the cars are used and they know what happens when they get rear ended. Ford even markets the vehicle for use in law enforcement but still allows the design to persist. There has been at least one major design change in the Crown Vic since 1993 and I'm sure numerous minor ones every year but they still haven't lifted a finger to fix it. My department is also "fixing" it in our cars, apparently with some kind of cap over a bolt that penetrates the gas tank. If it's that simple why doesn't Ford do it?

      This would be like Ford saying that they know the front right tire will fly off the axle at 100 MPH but since driving that fast is unique to police work and not to civilian driving they aren't going to fix it. But they'll sell the car to law enforecment for police work. Just hope you don't have to drive more than 100 MPH...

      I hope that lady owns Ford when this is over.

      [ 06-20-2003, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: Valor55 ]
      I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones


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