Wal-Mart Must Pay $18.9 Million For Fatal Tire-Blowout Accident


Posted on 4th February 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A jury has awarded $18.9 million in damages against Wal-Mart Stores for an accident caused by a tire blowout that killed three people, according to Lawyers USA Online.


The panel in Maryland found Wal-Mart liable for installing a new tire on an eroded rim, which caused the fatal accident.

The three victims, a mother and her two children, were among eight people who were in a minivan that was returning from California to Maryland. The vehicle’s left rear tire had a flat when they hit Iowa, and they had a new tire put on the rim, Lawyers USA Online reported.

After a new tire was mounted on the rim, the family drove about eight hours before the tire blew out in Indiana, with Lindora Cornejo Calderon of Hyattsville, Md., and her two children killed in the accident, according to Lawyers USA Online.

Attorney’s for the three estates, as well as three others hurt in the crash, filed a negligence suit against the giant retailer and the car’s driver. The jury cleared the driver of any liability last month,

Wal-Mart’s lawyer told Lawyers USA Online that it is considering appealing the verdict.

The accident took place on Nov. 7, 2009, when the tire went flat. The group was driving east on Interstate 80 after having the new tire put on when the driver swerved to avoid something in the road, said Lawyers USA Online,

That’s when the tire blew and the driver lost control, with the vehicle rolling over several times. As a result, Vega sustained a brain injury and lost part of his right leg, according to Lawyers USA Online. Villanueva injured her  right hand in the crash.

The trial in Prince George’s County Circuit Court took nine days in January.

Toyo Tires Recalls 69,000 Tires Due To Sidewall Defect


Posted on 30th January 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. has recalled 69,000 tires because of a defect in the sidewalls that may make them crack.


The tire model is the Toyo Extensa A/S, which was manufactured in the company’s plant in Georgia from 2009 to 2010.  

The tires can be identified on the sidewall by the “Made in U.S.A.” mark and the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number (TIN) ranging from 3809 to 4410. The TIN can be found after the letters “DOT” on the tire sidewall.

Toyo Tires made before or after this period aren’t being recalled, nor are tires with the “Made in Japan” or “Made in China” mark.

According to Toyo’s website, “Some of these recalled tires may have been produced with a kink in the bead area. Under certain circumstances, the kink may eventually lead to a crack in the bead area, which is near the rim. If a crack develops and is left undetected, the tire may fail, potentially causing loss of vehicle control and a crash, which could result in injury or death.”

Toyo told consumers that if they own a recalled tire, they should contact the dealer they bought it from, or an authorized Toyo dealer, to schedule an appointment to replace it. The recalled tire will be replaced for free, including the mounting, balancing and taxes, as long as it is returned by May 31.

Toyo has also set up a consumer hotline, 800-442-8696, for questions on the recalled tire.

Consumers were also told that if Toyo can’t get them the necessary replacement free of charge within a reasonable time, they should contact Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., 20590.

According to The New York Times, Toyo received its first complaint about a cracked sidewall in July 2010. Toyo checked into the matter, but found that the tires were “within specifications.”


But Toyo had a number of warranty claims last year, The Times reported, and started another probe. Toyo found that some of the tires had a thinner sidewall that was permitted by its production standards, and issued a recall.     



Two Tampa Bay Area Drivers Killed In Separate Tire Blowout Crashes


Posted on 14th August 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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In separate accidents in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, two drivers were killed when tires on their vehicles blew out.

The fatal accidents took place within about a week of each other, in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

On July 28, Terry Lee Colston, 55, of Clearwater was driving a Ford Explorer on Interstate 4 when its rear tire blew out, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The SUV, which also was carrying four children, spun and turned over.   


Colston died at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, while his son Robert Colston, 11, was hospitalized with critical injuries, according to the newspaper. The three other children in the van, Sarah Colston, 11, Jake Colston, 10, and Maxwell Watson, 10, were also treated at the hospital for minor injuries.   

Then on Aug. 6, a Palm Harbor man was killed, and his 12-year-old son badly hurt, when a tire on their minivan blew out, the St. Petersburg Times reported.


Driver Shane Chancy, 37, was driving on the Sunshine Skyway bridge in St. Petersburg when the tire went, and his minivan struck a guardrail and turned over. Chancy was thrown from the vehicle and killed. His son was hospitalized.

Royals’ Infielder’s Father Killed By Runaway Tire In Freak Accident


Posted on 13th March 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The father of Kansas City Royals Minor League infielder Anthony Seratelli was killed in a freak accident when a runaway tire crashed into the windshield of his car on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark.  


Russell Seratelli, 47, of Matawan, N.J., died in the Feb. 28 accident, which took place near parkway exit 128 in Kenilworth. Seratelli was driving a Hyundai Sonata when a tire and rim, which had fallen off a Honda Accord, bounced over a median and flew into his lane.

The tired went through Seratelli’s windshield, killing him. His daughter, Danielle Seratelli, 25, was a passenger in the car but wasn’t injured.     

The elder Seratelli’s son, Anthony, left the Royals’ Minor League training camp in Arizona to come home after his father’s death. 


 “We received some terrible news this morning when we learned of the untimely passing of Russell Seratelli, father of Royals’ Minor League infielder Anthony Seratelli, yesterday near the family home in New Jersey,” Scott Sharp, the Royals’ director of Minor League operations, said in a statement.

“Our organization prides itself on not only getting to know our athletes, but the families of each athlete, and this tragedy has cut deeply into every one of us. On behalf of the Kansas City Royals, our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony and his entire family as they mourn the passing of an outstanding father and gentleman.”

How Unsafe Firestone Tires Took, And Shattered, People’s Lives


Posted on 7th January 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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USA Today put on a face on the victims of faulty Firestone tires by interviewing their surviving families. It makes for a compelling story.


Federal regulators claim that accidents involving Firestone tires caused 148 deaths and more than 525 injuries, according to USA Today.

In one of the cases described in the article, Eve Monson of Albuquerque, N.M., talks about her granddaughter, Lori Erickson. The 25-year-old and her husband Scott, 28, were killed on Memorial Day when the tread on a Firestone tire on her Ford Explorer came off. The vehicle rolled six five times.

Lori, who was five months pregnant, was killed in the accident, as was her husband.

Monson and Scott’s mother, Christine Demijohn, remain devastated by the deaths of their loved ones. Demijohn is angry at Ford and Firestone, because she believes they were aware of the problems with the tires. Her family has planted crosses at the spot where the accident took place.

Because of her agony, Monson is now on antidepressants. And she has dreams where her granddaughter shows up on her doorstep, saying she is finally back from a trip to Europe.

If that isn’t wish fulfillment, what is?   


Ford Van Design Led To Tire-Blowout That Killed Six, Expert Says


Posted on 21st September 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The six victims of a crash last weekend, who were killed when their van blew a rear tire and rolled over repeatedly in New York, had two things going against them. One they could not control, the second they could have. 

First, an auto safety expert explained in the New York Post Monday that the van involved in the accident, a 1997 Ford Econoline, has design flaws that make it susceptible to tire blowouts. 


Byron Bloch, an expert witness in auto-safety cases, said that the 15-passenger van that members of a Queens church congregation were traveling in has “a high center of gravity, a narrow wheel base and a poor suspension system,” according to the Post. Bloch said that all creates stress on the van’s rear tires, stress that increases when the vehicle has a lot of passengers.

There were 14 members of the Joy Fellowship Christian Assembly on the van when it blew its rear tire Saturday afternoon. The van then went out of control and repeatedly flipped over on the New York Thruway near the Woodbury Commons outlet mall, killing the church’s bishop and pastor, as well as four others.

Bloch has called for Ford to redesign its van, which he deems dangerous,

Now here is something the congregation could have done, but didn’t, that could have saved lives. Many of them weren’t wearing seat belts. Seven people were thrown out of the van when it flipped. 

Block told the Post that Ford could have done something about that, too. If the Ford vans has shatterproof glass, that could have stopped passengers from being ejected from the van, according to Block.   

Now maybe Ford will address these issues. Maybe.


Six Bronx Church Members Killed When Van Flips Over After Tire Blowout


Posted on 19th September 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Six people were killed — including the bishop and pastor of a Bronx church — when their van’s rear tire blew out Saturday, ending with the vehicle repeatedly rolling over on the New York State Thruway.


In addition to the fatalities, eight of the van’s passengers were injured in the accident, which took place around 3 p.m. Saturday near the Woodbury Commons outlet mall in New York. Bodies were scattered on the Thruway, covered with sheets. 

There were 14 people in the Ford van, members of the Joy Fellowship Chutch who were on their way to visit a sister church, First Light Christian Assemblies, in Albany, N.Y. 

In its account, The New York Times quoted Pasquale Prozzillo, a second assistant chief in the Woodbury Fire Department, who said the van’s driver lost control after the vehicle blew its tire.

“The van rolled three to four times,” Prozzillo told The Times. “Seven people got ejected.”


The church’s bishop, Simon White, died in the accident, as did his wife Zelda White, and pastor Titus McGhie. The other fatalities were Avril Murray, Evelyn Ferguson and Elaine Reid.

One survivor, Veronica Francis, 52, had injuries to both legs and a deep cut above her eye. Her husband Patrick told the New York Post that his wife lost consciousness when the van rolled over, which means she also suffered a concussion.   




Tire Accident Foul-Up: Victim Reported Killed Is Alive, While One Believed Alive Is Dead


Posted on 26th July 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A young Arizona woman, a passenger in an SUV, was killed when the vehicle’s tire blew out and it flipped over. But the accident caused even more heartache than it had to when authorities screwed up and misidentified the woman’s body, telling  the family of a teen-aged girl who actually survived the crash that she had died at the scene.


Humans are fallible and make mistakes, but one would hope that this kind of situation wouldn’t happen. But it has happened before. I have encountered such a mix-up in my own practice, so I know it does occur. occur.

In this instance, the relatives and friends of Abby Guerra, 19, a soccery star from Glendale, Ariz., were told by authorities that she had died in the SUV accident July 18. But in fact Guerra was lying in a hospital alive. Officials had mistakenly identified the deceased victim, who was actually Marlena Cantu, 21.

Abby did sustain serious head injuries, but she’s alive. So now her family can end their mourning and stop making funeral plans, and hope she recovers. But the Cantu family, which has been keeping watch over Abby at the hospital, believing she was their daughter Marlena, are now the ones that will have to mourn and make arrangements.

Guerra, who has a soccer scholarship to the University of Evansville in Indiana, and Cantu were returning from a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., when the SUV’s left-rear tire blew out. There were three other passengers in the vehicle with them.

Tyler Parker, 20, died the next day at a Phoenix hospital. The two other passengers, including misidentified Guerra, were also taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, undergoing treatment for serious head wounds. She is in critical condition after sustaining brain injury, a broken back and a collapsed lung. Her face was so banged up, she was virtually unrecognizable. She had black eyes and her face was swollen. She had undegone brain surgery, so her head was shaved.

Unfortunately, her future as a soccer player appears dim at this point, but at least she is alive.

The misidentification was made because officials announced that Guerra was dead before the medical examiner’s office had a chance to compare medical records for a positive ID. That record check didn’t take place until a week after the accident.

St. Joseph’s said that its doctor shortage and huge volume of patients is what delayed the medical record comparison.

I’m sure that’s little solace to the Guerra and Cantu families.        


California Woman Dies When Shredded Tire Causes Pick-Up To Flip


Posted on 6th July 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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 A California woman was killed, and her husband injured, when one of their tires shredded, causing their pickup truck to roll over several times on Monday.    


The accident involved a F-250 Super Duty pick-up going north on Interstate 15 in Victorville, Calif. 

Jerry Wayne Hooker, 55, of Bloomington, Calif., was driving with his wife Gloria Lyn Ziegenmeyer-Hooker, 57, in a fast lane when suddenly his tire lost pressure. He tired to pull over, but then his tire shredded. The truck then flipped repeatedly.

 Rescuers found the couple trapped in their vehicle. Ziegenmeyer- Hooker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hooker was taken by Mercy Air to Antelope Valley Hospital. He injured his right shoulder and had cuts on his face.

Cooper Tire Maker Sued For Fatal Florida Wreck That Killed Four Students


Posted on 13th June 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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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.