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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Ford Excursion Rollover Fatality

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Was this a roof crush fatality?

A California man driving a Ford Excursion on U.S. 6 just east of Ely, Nevada died Sunday in a single-vehicle rollover accident according to a story by NBC News 4.

Jay Wooten of Fairfield, California was driving his Ford Excursion with five other people in the vehicle, when he swerved to avoiding hitting an elk. According to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper George Edwards, the Ford Excursion crossed both travel lanes and rolled over, killing Wooten. The five passengers in the Excursion were injured and taken to an area hospital. Four of them were children.

The news article did not mention if Mr. Wooten was wearing a seat belt, if he was ejected or if his fatal injury was due to the roof of the Ford Excursion caving in.

No one who is familiar with the Ford Excursion would be surprised at it rollover in a sudden defensive maneuver like Mr. Wooten apparently performed. We have been after Ford Motor Co., in a number of lawsuits, for the instability of their SUVs for some time. I doubt that Mr. Wooten’s Excursion was equipped with any type of stability control to prevent rollover, which I am relatively certain would have prevented this accident from being a rollover and saved Mr. Wooten’s life.

We are in the process of crash testing Ford Excursions to test their roof strength in rollover accidents. What we have discovered so far is frightening. Our testing shows that in a moderate rollover accident, the roof on the Excursion is so weak that it flattens like a pancake, leaving no survival space. It is very possible this is what happened to Mr. Wooten, the roof crushed in and killed him. Only an inspection of the vehicle by experts would tell us for sure, but I’d bet on it.

If you have been the victim of a rollover or roof crush (roof crushing in) accident and you need legal assistance contact me. If you are an attorney who needs restraint system test, crash test, stability test or roof crush test results, especially for Ford Motor products, contact me.