Tire tread separation may have caused a fatal SUV rollover crash near Cordelia, which killed one woman and injured four others. According to an article in The Reporter , 65-year-old Kalo Lolo of San Mateo died after she was ejected from the Isuzu Trooper sport utility vehicle.
The accident reportedly occurred after the driver of the SUV felt as if there was a problem with one of the right side tires of the vehicle and hit the brakes. The Isuzu Trooper then shot across the left lane on to the soft dirt along the center divider and then began skidding sideways before it overturned, the article reported.
Three passengers in the SUV, including the woman who was killed, were thrown out of the vehicle. Investigators are still trying to pin down what caused the accident, but they say it appears the tread separated from one of the Trooper’s rear tires before the vehicle went out of control.
Sport utility rollover deaths kill about 10,000 people in the United States every year. These vehicles are inherently unstable because they have a high center of gravity, which makes them top-heavy and taking corrective action or performing a sudden act like applying the brakes can cause SUVs to rollover.
But in this incident, the main cause seems to have been a defective tire. Tread separation often has catastrophic consequences like this accident. Tread belt separation often causes tire blowouts which, in unstable vehicles, cause rollover accidents. Even when there is no blowout, the driver often loses control of the vehicle when the tread and belt separate from the rest of the tire. This type of tire defect has resulted thousands of rollover accidents as well as thousands of serious injuries and fatalities.
The families of the victims of this accident will be well-served to hire an experienced auto product liability lawyer to conduct an independent and thorough investigation as quickly as possible. I believe a thorough investigation by true experts will produce evidence of defects in the failed tire and the Isuzu Trooper that combined together caused this accident. The victims’ families need to be sure to preserve the vehicle and the tires as evidence because without them, there is no real chance proving the causes of this accident or who is at fault.
It certainly does not sound like the driver is at fault. The fact that the passengers were ejected from the vehicle suggests that either they were not wearing seatbelts or the restraint systems failed. A good restraints expert may find evidence of failure in the seatbelt system. Seatbelt failure product liability cases are much more common than people think.