Santa Ana resident, 63-year-old Piedad Orozco, died and eight others were severely injured in an SUV rollover accident in Fresno that was caused by a blown-out tire. The Orange County Register reports that the incident occurred the afternoon of February 16, 2013.
California Highway Patrol officials say the driver, 43-year-old Adan Acosta, was driving a 2003 Ford Expedition going 80 to 85 mph when the right rear tire blew out. The vehicle rolled several times, finally resting on its wheels by the center median on the 5 Freeway north near Kamm Avenue.
Orozco died at the scene. Officials suspect Orozco was not wearing a seatbelt. Acosta was transported to an area hospital with life threatening injuries. Officials said Yesenia Villicana, 21, Rosa Villicana, 42, and three minors ages 17, 8 and 13 were taken to area hospitals with moderate injuries. Nevia Villicana, 19, and Bianca Maynor, 21, were also taken to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2008, the most recent year for which these statistics are available, 58 percent of SUV occupants who were killed in crashes were in vehicles that rolled over. In comparison, 47 percent of deaths in pickups and 25 percent of deaths in cars were in rollover accidents.
The Danger of SUV Rollover Accidents
Based on this news report, this Ford Expedition rollover crash was caused by a blown tire. It is not clear if the incident occurred due to a tire defect. When a tire blowout occurs on a Ford SUV, the consequences have proven to be catastrophic. When a tire blows, even experienced drivers struggle to regain control of the vehicle.
Ford SUVs especially the Explorer and the Expedition are poorly designed. These vehicles have a high center of gravity and a narrower track width, making them prone to devastating rollover crashes. Occupants of rollover accidents tend to suffer injuries such as brain damage and spinal cord injuries that can leave them paralyzed or disabled for the rest of their lives.
In such cases, injured victims or families of deceased victims would be well advised to preserve the vehicle in its crashed state, unaltered, so an expert can thoroughly examine it for defects, malfunctions and design flaws. Injured victims or families of deceased victims may be able to file an auto products liability claim against the vehicle's manufacturer. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to assist victims and their families pursue their legal rights.