The surviving family of a Stanislaus County deputy and a service officer are suing Ford and auto dealers alleging that they were killed in a fiery car accident triggered by carbon monoxide poisoning. According to a KCRA news report, Deputy Sheriff Jason Garner and Stanislaus County community service Officer Raschel Johnson were responding to a burglary call on May 13, 2017, when their vehicle left the roadway.
Fatal Crash Caused by CO Poisoning
The lawsuit, filed in Stanislaus County Superior Court, alleges that the 2014 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor that Garner was driving was defective and allowed exhaust, carbon monoxide and other gases to enter the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The lawsuit states Garner passed out due to carbon monoxide poisoning, causing the patrol vehicle to go off the road. The vehicle accelerated to about 89 mph as it collided with a steel post and other objects before it caught fire. Garner and Johnson were both pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy found Garner’s blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation level at 19 percent and Johnson’s at 27 percent. A saturation of about 2 percent strongly supports a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines. The lawsuit names Ford Motor Company, Patchetts Motors Inc. and Price Ford of Turlock as defendants.
Ongoing Federal Investigation
In this case, Ford released a statement saying that neither Stanislaus County Coroner nor the California Highway Patrol identified carbon monoxide poisoning as a contributing factor in the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating Ford Explorer vehicles, both those that are used for police patrol and civilian vehicles, for potential carbon monoxide leaks, which the agency has attributed to exhaust manifold cracks.
Our auto defect law firm is representing a Newport Beach police officer who was severely injured after passing out in his department-issued Ford Explorer patrol vehicle and crashing. We are representing both police officers and civilians who have been injured in such crashes.
Ford is continuing to deny these vehicle defects and is showing no signs of issuing a recall, even though they recently wrapped up a repair campaign. It is imperative that the automaker issues a recall so no more lives are lost and no more injuries occur due to these dangerous and defective vehicles.