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15-Passenger Van Rollover Accident On I-35 Kills 2 People

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Two people were killed in a fifteen passenger van accident in Medina County, southwest of San Antonio yesterday, according to an Examiner.com news article. 13 others were reportedly injured in the accident.

Two Fort Worth area residents, 55-year-old Edilberto Aguilar and a 15-year-old boy Jose Sanchez were killed in the 15-passenger van crash, said Lt. Steven Tellez; a spokesman for the San Antonio based Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The van was southbound on Interstate-35, carrying a full complement of 15 people, when the right rear tire blew out. Francisco Castro, the driver lost control and the van hit the interstate’s median, rolled over and came to a stop.

Once that tire blew, the driver, Francisco Castro, had no chance of controlling this van. The 15 passenger van rollover accident was not his fault. It was the van manufacturers and possibly the tire makers fault.

The 13 people injured in this fifteen passenger van accident were taken to San Antonio’s University Hospital. Dora Quiroga speaking for the Hospital said their condition ranged from stable to critical.

Of the thousands of traffic accident cases we have handled, the fifteen passenger van cases have been the most catastrophic and heart braking. These vans should have never been built without dual rear wheels. Commercial drivers’ licenses should be required to drive these vans because they are so unstable and dangerous.

My heart goes out to the families of those injured and I offer my deepest condolences for their loss. And I am mad as #$**. This was a needless loss of life and needless injuries that I attribute to corporate profits over public safety.

This accident underscores a recent finding by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rollover crashes involving 15-passenger vans are 31% more likely in the summer travel months between June and August.

What makes a 15-passenger van so unsafe – to the point government agencies warn against their use?

To begin with, the design of the van gives it a high center of gravity – basically making it top heavy and more likely to rollover, especially when a tires blows at highway speeds. The van’s instability substantially increases when it is fully loaded. The chance of a rollover for a 15-passenger van at its designed, full capacity is more than five times the odds of a rollover when the driver is the only occupant in the van. Another area of concern is the rear end of the van extends so far over the rear wheels that it increases the vehicle’s risk of fishtailing resulting in an unavoidable rollover. The roof of this van is known to be structurally defective and can crush its occupants in roll over crashes.

The family of the injured must consult with a law firm experienced in 15-passenger van cases, defective auto cases, tire blow out cases and a litigation reputation with the make of the van. This family has suffered a substantial loss. Those responsible, the van manufacturer and possibly the tire maker, should be held responsible for their share of culpability and made to compensate this family appropriately.

Please see these web site http://www.staysafe.info/van_safety.html or http://www.15-passenger-van-accidents.com for detailed information on van safety. Some of the brands of 15-passenger vans that were under federal review are Ford E-350 Super Duty XLT (Econoline and Club Wagons), Dodge Ram Van B3500/Wagon B350 (1 ton) (Discontinued in 2002), GMC Savanna/Rally 1-ton Extended and Chevrolet Express 1-ton Extended.

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