Driver Exonerated in Fatal Crash Involving Defective Brakes

deadly auto defect crash

A man who was charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fatal crash has been exonerated after it was revealed that his car’s brakes were defective. According to a news report on NBC Los Angeles, the horrific crash occurred August 29 2012 when Solomon Methenge crashed his Infiniti SUV into a minivan carrying a mother and her two children, ages 4 and 6. Everyone in the minivan was killed. Methenge himself spent a month in the hospital and was charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Twist in the Case

He also faced a wrongful death lawsuit from the deceased family’s relatives. But, Methenge had always maintained that the accident was not his fault and blamed his car’s brakes. He said he tried to avoid the crash, but couldn’t because the brakes were not working. After fighting to clear his name for the last four years, Methenge finally succeeded this week when the charges were finally dropped.

The District Attorney said he saw that Methenge’s Infiniti SUV had a known defect that caused intermittent brake failure. In fact, it was one of the models involved in a class-action lawsuit, which Nissan settled out of court. The DA said his office was able to contact class members and find out that they experienced the same problems with the brakes that Methenge did. The SUV, however, was never part of a nationwide recall. The family has dropped their civil wrongful death case against Methenge. Now, the two have joined together for a case against Nissan-Infiniti.

Auto Accident Investigations

Methenge’s story emphasizes the importance of comprehensive and thorough investigations after an auto accident. Often, law enforcement officials don’t have the ability or the resources to thoroughly investigate vehicles for auto defects. It also reiterates the importance of preserving all the evidence after a crash, particularly the vehicles involved so they can be thoroughly examined by an expert for evidence of defects, malfunctions and even design flaws.

When an auto accident is caused by a vehicle defect, the automaker and/or manufacturer of a defective part that caused or contributed to the crash could be held accountable. In this particular case, the defective vehicles in question were not even recalled. It will be interesting to see if Nissan issues a recall now. It is deeply concerning to think about how many of these vehicles are still on our roadways posing real dangers. As auto defect attorneys who represent the rights of injured victims and their families, the government will force the recall of these dangerous and defective vehicles.

(Image NBC4)

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