James M. McRae, 32, of Castaic, died in a fiery rollover accident on November 30, 2008 after the Jeep he was a riding in caught on fire during an off-road crash near Pyramid Lake, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The vehicle overturned and burst into flames, California Highway Patrol officials said. Nicholas M. Rowe, 24, who was also in the Jeep at the time of the accident, was seriously injured, but managed to get out of the vehicle and call authorities. Officials say it is unclear who was driving the Jeep. Rowe remains at an area hospital in critical condition.
My heart goes out to the family of James McRae for their tragic and sudden loss. Nicholas Rowe, who was critically injured in this crash, will also be in my prayers. I wish Rowe the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Rollover accidents are the leading cause of fatalities in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA statistics for 2005 show that more than 10,000 people were killed in rollover accidents. This number amounts to nearly 25 percent of all traffic accident fatalities in the United States.
Any number of things could have gone wrong in this 11/30/08 Pyramid Lake fatal rollover accident. The driver, whether it is was McRae or Rowe, apparently lost control of the Jeep. While driver error may have been one of the causes, it would also be very important to look into whether this accident was caused by a mechanical malfunction or a product defect in the Jeep. It is rare for a vehicle to burst into flames in a rollover accident.
The family of James McRae and the injured victim, Nicholas M. Rowe would be well-advised to retain the services of a skilled Southern California auto accident attorney, who has extensive experience dealing with product liability issues. The personal injury lawyer should have the Jeep examined by experts for auto product defects, design defects, mechanical malfunction and other evidence. It is very important that the Jeep be preserved in its current burned and crashed condition so that experts can examine it for important evidence.