Lois Mae Rodgers, 81, was killed the afternoon of May 20, 2009 in a San Bernardino car accident after she collided with another car while exiting an off-ramp on the 71 Freeway. According to a news report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Rodgers was driving her 1991 Pontiac Grand Am south on the freeway when she got off at Chino Hills Parkway. However, Rodgers continued past the end of the off-ramp and hit a westbound 2003 Toyota Highlander on the parkway. Rodgers was taken to an area hospital where she died a few hours after the Chino Hills car accident. It is not known whether the occupants of the Toyota were personally injured.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Lois Mae Rodgers for their tragic loss. My heart goes out to all the people who knew and loved this elderly woman and also to the occupants of the Highlander who possibly suffered personal injuries.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 traffic accident statistics, there were three fatal car accidents and 83 injuries involving car accidents in Chino Hills. In San Bernardino County as a whole, 308 deaths and 9,920 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of car accidents.
In this case, based on the newspaper report, it appears that Rodgers lost control of her car. The report does not mention that she suffered a medical condition. The question then arises whether there was a mechanical problem or product defect issue with her Pontiac Grand Am that caused her to lose control of it. According to this Web site, several 1991 Pontiac Grand Am cars were recalled for steering defects.
Lois Mae Rodgers’ family should consult experienced California product defect attorneys to help determine whether a steering defect or any other car product defect may have caused or contributed to this fatal car accident. If that was the case, then the auto maker, in this case General Motors, could be held liable for the car collision and the resulting death and any personal injuries. Rodgers’ family would also be well advised to preserve the Pontiac in its current condition, unaltered, so it can be examined by an expert for product defects, mechanical malfunction and other defects.