James Rogers, 72, and his dog were killed after both were locked inside Rogers’ 2007 Chevy Corvette “dream car” by a dead battery in 90-degree heat in a crowded restaurant parking lot in Port Arthur, Texas.
According to a report in The Daily Mail, the incident occurred the afternoon of June 8, 2015 after it appeared that the electric doors and windows stopped working because the battery was dead.
Heat Exhaustion Caused Death
Port Arthur police officials said there were footprints all over the inside of the vehicle, which means Rogers had desperately tried to escape from the vehicle.
They found a loose battery cable, which meant that even if he had honked the horn in the Waffle House parking lot, no one would have been able to hear him.
Rogers was not even able to call for help because he had left his cell phone in the restaurant.
A person who noticed the man inside the Corvette and tried to break him out, but wasn’t able to do so. Finally, firefighters managed to break in, but it was too late.
Both Rogers and his dog, Leia, were pronounced dead from heat exhaustion.
We offer our deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved James Rogers for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Is a Vehicle Recall Warranted?
A spokesman for General Motors, which makes Corvettes, told the Daily Mail that the vehicles had never been recalled for the issue, which affected Rogers’ vehicle.
Corvettes do have an emergency handle on the floorboard to force open the doors if the electrics fail in the vehicle. But experts say that many drivers are not aware of this handle.
The instructions on the emergency handle are included in the car owner manual.
As auto product liability attorneys who represent victims of defective vehicles and their families, we urge federal safety regulators to look into this potentially lethal flaw in these Corvettes.
As a first step, GM needs to create awareness among consumers regarding what they should do if the electrics fail.
The automaker should also look into what caused the electrical failure that fatally trapped this man in his vehicle.
This incident is a reminder to consumers that not all defective vehicles are recalled. In fact, a majority of defective autos are likely still out there, on our roadways.
Anyone who has been injured or has lost a loved one as the result of a defective auto would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who will ensure that they are fairly compensated for their losses and that the negligent automaker is held liable.