A jury in a Georgia federal court found General Motors negligent in a rollover crash that killed a 14-year-old boy and awarded $3.5 million in damages to the parents, Garland and Bonnie Reynolds. The 2002 rollover accident claimed the life of their son, Matthew. The Reynolds sued GM in 2006, alleging that the design of the 1995 Chevrolet Blazer created stability issues that contributed to the fatal wreck. The jury deliberated for nearly three days after a two week trial in U.S. District Court in Gainesville, Georgia before finding GM at fault. The jury found that the Blazer is unsafe and it should not have been designed without proper stability.
On June 3, 2002, Bonnie Reynolds was driving a 1995 Chevy Blazer on the Interstate with her son in the front seat when the Blazer was struck by a drunk driver who lost control of his Pontiac Sunbird. The Blazer flipped several times and Matthew was ejected. He was taken to an area hospital where he died the following day. The driver who struck the Reynolds’ car was later convicted of first-degree vehicular homicide.
Plaintiffs presented evidence at trial of other rollover accidents involving the Blazer. It was contended that the make and model of the Blazer was built with too high a center of gravity for the wheel base, and that the “track,” or distance between the wheels, should have been widened to prevent stability problems. Blazers manufactured from 1995 through 2002 have similar design flaws. As you may know, the Blazer was subsequently phased out in favor of the TrailBlazer, which has a wider wheelbase. Evidence presented at trial called for a recall. General Motors maintains that the vehicle is safe and an appeal is likely.
Source: Associated Press
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