Emily Newsome was driving her 4-year-old nephew Remington “Remi” Walden to tennis lessons when the 1999 Jeep Cherokee she was driving was rear-ended by a Dodge Dakota. Remi’s only injury was a fractured bone in his leg. But because the Jeep’s fuel tank was located just inside the rear bumper, the tank ruptured and leaked fuel when it was struck by the Dakota, causing the car to become engulfed in flames. There was nothing witnesses could do to save Remi, who ultimately perished in the fire.
Remi’s parents, Bryan and Lindsay Walden, have filed suit against Chrysler, alleging the automotive company is responsible for their son’s death. They say Chrysler was aware that the placement of the Jeep Cherokee’s fuel tank made it prone to fires in the event of rear-end crashes, but the company failed to correct the problem.
They aren’t the only ones who are suing Chrysler over fiery crashes in Jeep vehicles. In fact, similar reports of injuries and deaths from fuel-fed fires in several Jeep vehicles have led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to launch an investigation.
The federal probe was recently expanded to include Jeep Grand Cherokee model years 1993 to 2004, Cherokee model years 1993 to 2001, and Jeep Liberty model years 2002 to 2007. All vehicles involved in the investigation have fuel tanks located just behind the rear axle. Chrysler has since changed the placement of the fuel tanks on these vehicles, though the company claims it was for design reasons and not because of safety issues.
NHTSA’s assessment of the data could likely result in a recall of more than 5 million Jeep vehicles, which would make it one of the largest vehicle recalls in United States history.
Source: The Post Searchlight