Monica Breann Tumbleson, 26, was killed in a San Bernardino rollover accident on November 19, 2008 after she apparently lost control of her 1993 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The accident occurred at the northern end of E Street where it curves and becomes Kendall Drive. Tumbleson was ejected from the vehicle and transported to an area hospital where she died. Our source for this blog is a Riverside Press-Enterprise news report.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of young Monica Breann Tumbleson who was tragically killed in this rollover crash. Please keep her family in your prayers.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, rollover accidents account for approximately 25 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States. A majority of these fatal rollovers involve sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
In this fatal 11/19/08 rollover crash, the newspaper report does not say how fast Tumbleson was driving or whether she was wearing her seat belt. If I were a member of Tumbleson’s family, I would definitely want to know whether Tumbleson was wearing her seatbelt and if so, why she was ejected from the vehicle and killed.
Seatbelt defects are unfortunately all too common. These auto product defects are especially apparent in rollover accidents where the intensity of the crash is remarkably higher. If I were representing the family of Monica Breann Tumbleson, I would start by examining the Ford pickup truck for seatbelt defects or seatbelt failure.
A seatbelt system can fail in many ways. An alarming number of “side release” belts are prone to false latching and many “end release belts” are prone to unlatching during auto accidents. Our firm has seen numerous cases of restraint system failure involving seatbelt mounts, buckles, webbing and grabbers. We have even uncovered internal memos and documents that clearly show that automakers had knowledge of these dangerous defects and failures, but did nothing to correct them.
Traffic investigators will normally tend to assume that the driver or vehicle occupant was not wearing their seatbelt if they were ejected from the vehicle. But an expert looking for signs of seatbelt use will be able to correct or confirm such assumptions. Tumbleson’s family would be well-advised to consult a reputed Southern California seatbelt defect attorney and not just take the investigator’s word for it.
A skilled auto product defect attorney will also have the body of the ejected person carefully examined for evidence of seatbelt bruising and marking. They would also test the webbing microscopically for marks, blood stains or other indicators that would prove that the seatbelt was in use at the time of the accident.