A Costa Mesa couple in their late 60s died after the driver lost control of his 2005 Chevy Malibu, a news article in The Orange County Register reports. The auto accident, which killed 69-year-old Jack Henderson and his wife, Carolyn Henderson, 65, occurred on Newport Boulevard after the husband exited the 55 Freeway near Fair Drive and merged on to Newport, the article said.
The car reportedly crashed into a chain link fence, clipped some trees and rolled down an embankment back onto the freeway. Carolyn Henderson died on the scene while her husband was transported to Hoag Hospital where he later died, the Register reports. The grandparents were on the way to babysit their grandchildren when the tragic accident occurred.
Eyewitnesses reportedly saw the Chevy Malibu veer off the 55 freeway, become airborne from Newport Boulevard and flip at least twice down the embankment before coming to rest on the freeway. This is no doubt a huge tragedy for the family and we offer our deepest condolences to them during this very tough time. Investigators have already started looking into possible causes for the crash. Witnesses report speeding and that Henderson merged onto Newport at a high rate of speed.
But as personal injury attorneys we know that preliminary reports, especially those relating to how fast the driver was going, could be misleading. This could be particularly true if a driver were getting off the freeway and on to a surface street. It’s hard for a casual observer to determine whether Henderson was speeding or traveling at a dangerous rate of speed. That determination would depend on what traffic investigators find based on tire skid marks and other indicators.
The other aspect to look at is the vehicle itself. The 2005 Chevy Malibu has been the subject of a barrage of complaints especially relating to steering problems, according to this Web site. Consumers complain about the steering making “popping noises,” locking up and almost causing accidents. The news report also states that the Orange County Coroner ruled that Mr. Henderson had no medical issues that might have caused the accident.
The victims’ family would be well-advised to retain an auto product defect law firm to look into whether this vehicle’s inherent defects or design defects caused this tragic accident. Based on all the complaints about the 2005 Chevy Malibu and the circumstances of this auto accident, the possibility of a defect certainly cannot be ruled out. It would also be very important for the family to preserve the vehicle for inspection by experts if they are considering a claim against General Motors.