Four Orange County residents died in a violent crash involving a big rig on a Tennessee highway when they were driving cross-country to visit family. The car went under a tractor trailer and got wedged underneath the big rig, the Jackson Sun newspaper reports. Those who died in the crash were: Judith Stele, 69; Rheta Kanter, 72; Brandt Stele, 69; and Gloria Friedman, 65.
The accident occurred when, for some unknown reason, their 2003 Toyota Avalon crossed the median into oncoming traffic and went under the tractor trailer. Judith Stele was driving the four-door sedan and it’s not clear why or how she lost control of the vehicle. Alcohol was reportedly not a factor in the fatal crash. All four who died were residents of Laguna Woods, the newspaper reported. The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured in the accident. The Orange County Register reports that the four friends were driving on a clear day and in good weather.
This was apparently an intense crash. It is however puzzling as to why and how the car went out of control. State troopers who investigated the crash are saying that they don’t know whether the four were wearing seatbelts and that it would not have mattered even if they were because of the intensity of the crash.
However, family members of the deceased should get an answer as to how this crash occurred, especially because it seems as if it was the fault of the deceased Judith Stele.
Family members must make sure investigators find out the cause of the accident. They must at least be able to rule out defects in the automobile or the tires that may have caused Stele to lose control of the vehicle and go toward oncoming traffic.
As auto product defense attorneys, who have represented numerous clients over the last three decades, our advice to family members in such cases always, is to preserve the evidence at any cost. The vehicle is the most important piece of evidence in an auto product defect or personal injury case and that of course includes the car tires.
Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and we pray that they get some closure by finding out the facts.