Kimberly Robles, 10, of Santa Ana was killed in a rollover crash after the SUV in which she was a passenger lost its rear tire and crashed. According to a news report in the Orange County Register, the fatal rollover crash occurred the morning of August 4, 2013, the girl was a passenger in the rear seat of a 2000 Lincoln Navigator, which was northbound on Interstate 15 near Afton Canyon Road east of Barstow. The driver lost control of the SUV when one of the rear tires came off. The SUV rolled at least once, killing Robles. It was not clear if the driver was injured or if the girl was buckled up at the time of the crash. California Highway Patrol officials are investigating the crash.
Rollover Crash Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2008, the most recent year for which these statistics are available, 58 percent of SUV occupants who were killed in crashes were in vehicles that rolled over. In comparison, 47 percent of deaths in pickups and 25 percent of deaths in cars were in rollover accidents.
What Caused this Fatal Crash?
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the SUV lost control of the vehicle because a tire came off. There are several unanswered questions here. Was the tire defective? Did the tread separate? Did the defective design of the SUV cause or contribute to the rollover? Was the child wearing a seatbelt at the time? These are some of the questions that must be asked and answered in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
In such cases the vehicle must be preserved in its current condition so it can be thoroughly examined by an expert for vehicle defects, design flaws and other evidence. If the accident was caused by a defective tire or vehicle defect, the automaker and/or the manufacturer of the defective product can be held liable. In such cases injured victims or families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced auto products liability lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.