Chrysler Probe Expands

Two years ago NHTSA launched an investigation into whether an usual number of Chrysler vehicles caught fire after rear end collisions. Originally the focus was on 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees. Now NHTSA has added an additional 2.1 million Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Liberty SUVs manufactured between 1993 and 2001.

Central to the investigation are concerns of the plastic rear mounted gas tank which may lead to higher incidence of fires. So far NHTSA has received reports of 15 deaths and 41 injuries related to this potential problem.

According to a government analysis, there is “a higher incidence of rear-impact, fatal fire crashes for the Jeep products.”

Chrysler officials downplay the issue, though David Dillon, Chrysler’s head of product investigations, acknowledged in an interview with the Detroit News that, “Grand Cherokee may have more of these events than their competitors.” But, on the whole, Dillon insisted, “Those vehicles essentially are performing the same as their peers.”

Read more here.


Toyota - Unintended Acceleration

The Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into a report that a Toyota Sienna accelerated without explanation.

 According to the report,
Safety regulators said that field data “indicates that when a retainer pin is missing from the driver's side center stack/console trim panel, the panel can detach from the console and the accelerator pedal can become entrapped under the trim panel causing unwanted acceleration.”
The ODI is launching this  investigation to determine if  more vehicles are affected. It is so  vital that consumer report such defects and problems to the  ODI so investigations such as this may be conducted.
Read the story

Charles "Peanut" Wilson - Defendant's setting

Today the defendant charged with Charles Wilson's misdemeanor death by motor vehicle had his first setting.  His attorneys asked for a continuance and were granted one until October 3, 9am, when the next hearing is scheduled.

The family of Charles Wilson attended and had t-shirts printed up featuring pictures of Charles and honoring his memory.  His mother, Brenda Sue, continues to be in visible grief, as the rest of the family tries to put on as strong a face as possible.

I attended the hearing on behalf of the family, and so did my co-counsel for this matter, Chris Nichols, whose help has proved invaluable as we continue to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding Charles Wilson's tragic death on July 10th of this year.  Chris has great experience in handling wrongful death actions in this state, and he has already aided us immensely in our work thus far.  For those readers who practice law in North Carolina, Chris also maintains a blog on North Carolina trial law topics found here.

We didn't have much to say in court as the Estate isn't a party to the criminal proceeding, however we did speak with the press afterwards.  A recap of that conversation is on the flip.  If you are visiting this blog for the first time, and if you happen to know anything about Charles Wilson's death, please contact us toll-free at 1-877-829-7211.

UPDATE: WRAL's Internet coverage can be found here. Amanda Lamb from WRAL spoke with us and the family after the hearing.  We let her know we are conducting an investigation, and we absolutely need any information that anyone has about the facts and circumstances leading up to his death.

What I didn't say to Amanda, and perhaps what I should have said, is that one of the reasons we need this information is because the State is conducting their "own internal investigation" into the circumstances surrounding the decision to send the inmates out onto I-40 at rush hour without any safety equipment.

Up to this point, we have heard no information at all from the state about its "internal investigation".  And while we expect that they will share with us whatever they find out when they have concluded their work, we also know that the power to investigate is also the power to not investigate.  When you conduct an investigation you must choose which facts are critical and which facts are not.  There may very well be facts that the Department of Correction, in the course of its investigation, has determined are not critical and they will be overlooked.

Yet, anyone interested in the truth knows that it sometimes looks a little different when viewed from different angles, and since the state and Department of Correction may very well be a defendant in this matter, it is very possible that their investigation won't include facts which we think it should.

Thus, we need all the facts.  The family deserves them.  If you or anyone you know has any information at all about this unfortunate tragedy, please don't hesitate, call the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood today: 1-877-829-7211, your call is confidential and toll free.

Choking Hazard & Car Seats

The Office of Defects Investigation at the NHTSA opened an investigation on July 17, 2007 involving Evenflo / Triumph car seats.  Apparently there have  been 12  complaints since 2003 of a choking hazard involving child seats from  this manufacturer.  The complaint alleges children are able to  gain access to the  styrofoam from underneath the seat padding/ cover and break it  into  pieces. In 10 of the 12 cases, it  was stated that the child placed these pieces into their mouths. 3 of those children were reported to choke and 1 reportedly gagged.  We'll be watching  to see what happens with this  investigation.