A negligence lawsuit alleges that a faulty Cooper tire was to blame for an accident that killed four Jacksonville, Fla., high school students last year, according to The Florida Times-Union.
The suit was filed by the family of one of the teenagers killed in the accident, and it named Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. and three others as defendants.
The fatal crash took place on Interstate 295 on the last day of school in 2009 for Ed White High School. The students were heading to the beach in an Explorer SUV when its left rear tire had a blowout, causing the crash.
Four students died and four others were injured when the tread of their Explorer’s left rear tire separated. The tire was a Cooper Cobra, and the suit alleges that Cooper’s manufacturing techniques make the treads of its tires more prone to separating.
The lawyer for one of the teens that died, 16-year-old Shannon Bloom, said that Cooper has had many cases of its tires separating, causing accidents. There are numerous negligence suits pending against the tire maker.
A spokesman for Cooper Tire told The Times-Union that the fatal accident wasn’t caused by his company’s tires or their design. The tire maker pointed out that the Explorer involved in the Florida accident is only supposed to seat five people.
But the day of the accident, the Explorer had nine people on board, and only one was wearing a seat belt, the driver Brandon Hodges. Cooper Tire also pointed out that Hodges didn’t have a driver’s license at the time of the accident.
Hodges, 16, has been charged with driving without a license causing death. He is awaiting trial.
Accident victim Bloom’s attorney contends that he can prove that the crash would have happened even if an experienced driver had been behind the wheel.
The Explorer was owned by the parents of one of the teens hurt in the crash, Rebecca Pilkington, 16. The SUV had been in for service about two weeks before the crash, and a Cooper distributor, Big Chief’s Tire Co., replaced two of its tires.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
email@example.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.