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Tire Blow-Out Kills Man in Pomona Freeway Big Rig Accident


An accident on the Pomona (60) Freeway took the life of a man as his 1988 Volvo apparently blew a tire and hit a big rig. According to an article posted on the MSNBC Web site, the 49-year old man, James Ong of Moreno Valley, was heading west on the freeway and was near the Fairway Drive exit at about noon Monday when the incident occurred.

CHP Officer Patrick Kimball was quoted in the article saying the car which was doing 60 mph, lost control after blowing its right rear tire and moved suddenly across from the No. 2 lane onto the No. 4 lane. The big rig on the No. 4 lane traveling at about 50 mph hit the passenger side of the car. The impact pushed the car to a concrete drainage ditch and caused the big rig to land on top of the car’s roof, Kimball said.

While, firefighters who had rushed to the scene, cut Ong out of his car using hydraulic tools, he had already received major head trauma and was declared dead, the article reported. The big rig’s driver, Robert Bokkes, 67, of Aguanga was not injured.

The accident with its horrific and tragic end does underscore a very common and hazardous issue that affects all drivers – the proper maintenance of vehicle tires. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), low tire pressure-related crashes are to blame for 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries every year. NHTSA estimates that about one in four cars and one in three light trucks has at least one significantly under inflated tire.

NHTSA provides the following suggestions on their Web site:

• Most tires may naturally lose air over time and tires can lose air suddenly if you drive over a pothole or other object or if you strike the curb when parking.
• With radial tires, it is usually not possible to determine under inflation by visual inspection.
• For convenience, purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle.

For more information, visit NHTSA’s Web site.

Even though this accident sequence started with Mr. Ong’s Volvo blowing a tire, the ultimate legal responsibility and liability for Mr. Ong’s death my be on the big rig driver. Much will depend upon the reasonableness of the actions of Mr. Bokkes, the truck driver and Mr. Ong. There may be liability on the part of the tire manufacturer and/or whoever recently serviced the tire if done negligently. It may be that the truck driver did everything he could to avoid the accident.

I seriously doubt that there is any liability on the part of Volvo for the incursion into the Volvo’s occupant’s compartment. However this is an area of investigation that should not be over looked. Volvo roofs and occupant compartments are arguably the strongest in the automotive industry and this Volvo was made nearly twenty years ago.

Only a thorough investigation and reconstruction by experts will reveal the accident sequences, its causes and who is at fault. It is essential that Mr. Ong’s vehicle, tire and maintenance records be professionally preserved and inspected for any legal team representing Mr. Ong’s heirs. It is very possible that the responsibility for this tragic accident will be shared by more than one entity and/or persons.

If we were handling the case, I would want my investigators on the scene immediately to do their own scene investigation. Next would be witness’s interviews, to record their observations while still fresh in their minds. Immediately following would be a complete investigation of the failed tire, Mr. Ong’s maintenance records and the Volvo itself.

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys has represented numerous clients who have suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones as a result of big rig driver’s negligence, defective tires and defectively designed automobiles. Our consultations and case evaluations are provided free and confidentially. John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

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