A Special Report: St. Petersbrg Times Deadly Combination: Ford, Firestone and Florida
 
 
Deadly Combination:
Ford, Firestone and Florida

Sunday
Part One
  • Main story
  • Companies warming to settlements
  • At a glance
  • The players
  • Questions and Answers
  • A Timeline
  • What the companies say
  • Interview with Anita Kumar, the reporter
  • Graphic: How the tires failed
  • Graphic: When it’s too late
  • Graphic: By the numbers
  • Graphic: The human toll
  • Monday
    Part Two

  • After the rollover
  • Suspect tires still on road
  • Driver side rear tires fail the most
  • About this report

  • Contact Anita Kumar:
  • Via e-mail: Click here
  • By phone: (727) 893-8472

    Further coverage
  • In first trial, Firestone settles lawsuit
  • Battered Firestone counting on local ties
  • Rollover crashes are hard to track
  • Ford leaves 2-door SUV unchanged
  • Recall may leave Firestone bankrupt
  • Government to expand tire recall
  • FHP says Firestone tire a factor in fatal crash
  • Two bay area lawsuits target Ford, Firestone
  • Ford agrees to test replacement tires
  • Ford recall: from bad to worse?
  • Ford's sub tires may fail more
  • Attention shifts from Firestone to Ford Explorer
  • Ford widens recall; companies cut ties
  • Ford recalls Wilderness AT Firestone tires
  • Dealerships brace for Ford tire recall
  • Tire decision not just for Ford owners
  • Voluntary tire recall rolling smoothly
  • Firestone cuts deal on bad tires
  • The Human Toll

    A St. Petersburg Times analysis shows that at least 41 people have been killed in Florida since 1997 in accidents involving sport utility vehicles equipped with Firestone tires. The accidents had uncanny similarities: A rear tire fell apart, causing the vehicle to roll, frequently several times. Most crashes occurred on highways on warm, sunny days.

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    James E. Brown, 27, of Plant City Accident: 9:10 p.m. 1/17/00 on I-10 in Leon
    Speed: 76 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Brown was driver , no passengers
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with Ford

    Chiquita Stanfield, 13 , of Jacksonville
    Accident: 10:40 a.m. 6/18/00 on I-95 in St. Johns
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    One of nine people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    William E. Touchton Jr., 47, of Jacksonville
    Accident: 4:10 p.m. 7/3/00 on I-95 in Nassau
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tire: AT (recalled)
    One of four people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Athena M. Lingenfelser, 10, of Jacksonville
    Accident: 9:30 a.m. 11/20/99 on State Road 202 in Duval
    Speed: 60 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    One of two people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Shirley Y. Nelson, 40 , of Jacksonville
    Accident: 3:20 p.m. 8/2/00 on I-295 in Duval
    Speed: 85 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: AT (unknown if recalled)
    One of three people in vehicle
    Legal status: Did not sue

    Fannie M. Williams, 40, of Middleburg
    Accident: 11:30 a.m. 5/12/99 on I-295 in Duval
    Speed: 65 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    One of two people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Luz Gaetan Class, 48, of Orlando
    Accident: 3:55 p.m. 1/11/00 on I-95 in Flagler
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    One of six people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Nicholas A. Rowan, 20, of Titusville
    Accident: 5:05 p.m. 2/19/99 on I-95 in Brevard
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: FR480 (not recalled)
    Vehicle: 1989 Ford Bronco II
    Rowan was driver, no passenger s
    Legal status: Sued both

    Blaine C. Webb, 31, of Cocoa
    Accident: 3:15 p.m. 12/13/99 on I-95 in Brevard
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Webb was driver, no passenger s
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with Ford

    Patricia F. Hermanspan, 68, of Palm Bay
    Accident: 5:59 p.m. 4/29/00 on I-95 in Brevard
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Hermanspan was driver, no passenger s
    Legal status: Sued both

    Chaaya Jagasia, 47, Pankaj R. Jagasia, 23,
    Mike Nainani, 58 , all of Miami
    Accident: 4:25 p.m. 7/30/99 on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: AT (not recalled)
    Three of five people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with both

    Margaret F. Labib, 42, and Andrew Labib, 9, of Indialantic
    Accident: 10:10 p.m. 10/1/99 on I-95 in Brevard
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Two of seven people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with both

    Patrick D. Query, 27, of Stuart
    Accident: 5 p.m. 7/25/99 on I-95 in Brevard
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Query was driver, no passenger s
    Legal status: Sued both

    Carrie B. McCray, 50, of Tallahassee
    Accident: 3:45 a.m. 1/23/99
    on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola
    Speed: 70 mph Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled) McCray was driver,
    three passengers Legal status: Sued both

    John R. Smith Jr., 56, of Longwood
    Accident: 9:15 p.m. 4/30/98 on Florida’s
    Turnpike in Indian River Speed: 70 mph Seat belt: No
    Tires: Unknown
    Smith was driver, no passengers
    Legal status: Sued Firestone

    Edelio Herrera, 51, and Norma Herrera, 52, of Fort Lauderdale
    Accident: 8:07 p.m.
    5/28/00 on Florida’s Turnpike in Martin
    Speed: 70 mph S
    eatbelt: No
    Tires: AT (recalled)
    Mr. Herrera was driver, Mrs. Herrera was one of four passengers
    Legal status: Did not sue

    Jose A. Fernandez, 36, and
    Emma T. Fernandez, 2 days both of Coral Springs
    Accident: 6:35 p.m. 5/23/99 on Florida’s Turnpike in Palm Beach
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Fernandez was driver, two passengers
    Legal status: Sued both

    Luzmila Garzon, 49, of Miami
    Accident: 12:36 p.m. 2/13/00 on Florida’s Turnpike in Palm Beach
    Speed: 80 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: AT (not recalled)
    One of four people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with both

    Alexander Sagrista, 2, of Apopka
    Accident: 2 a.m. 11/23/99 on Florida’s Turnpike in Martin
    Speed: 80 mph
    Childseat: Yes
    Tires: AT (not recalled)
    One of five people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    William Ramirez, 29, of Hialeah
    Accident: 8:12 a.m. 6/14/00 on I-75 in Broward
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Ramirez was driver, no passengers
    Legal status: Sued both

    Jose M. Santana, 26, of Coral Gables
    Accident: 9:08 p.m. 9/11/99 on I-75 in Broward
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Santana was driver, one passenger
    Legal status: Sued both

    Amelia Izquierdo, 86, of Pembroke Pines
    Accident: 5:10 p.m. 7/9/99 on I-75 in Collier
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    One of five people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Jean M. Sterile, 48, of Fort Myers
    Accident: 3:50 p.m. 2/18/99 on I-75 in Collier
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Sterile was driver, five passengers
    Legal status: Did not sue

    Kirsten P. Kent, 20, of Sarasota
    Accident: 2:55 p.m. 1/1/00 on I-75 in Lee
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: AT (not recalled)
    Vehicle: 1997 Mercury Mountaineer
    One of two people in vehicle
    Legal status: Settled with both

    David K. Nisbett, 19, of Clearwater
    Accident: 7:30 p.m. 6/9/00 on I-75 in Sarasota
    Speed: 70-75 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: AT (recalled)
    One of five people in vehicle
    Legal status: Did not sue

    Kevin M. Martin, 35, of Fort Myers
    Accident: 6:33 p.m. 4/22/00 on I-75 in Sarasota
    Speed: 75-80 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: AT (recalled)
    Martin was driver, four passengers
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with Firestone

    Claire S. Kantor, 19, of North Miami
    Accident: 4 p.m. 3/5/00 on I-75 in Manatee
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: RS4 (not recalled)
    Vehicle: 1998 GMC Suburban
    One of five people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued Firestone

    Elizabeth C. Herman, 18, of Sarasota
    Accident: 3:10 p.m. 7/24/97 on I-75 in Hillsborough
    Speed: 75 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: FR480 (not recalled)
    Vehicle: 1990 Ford Bronco II
    One of four people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both, settled with both

    Aaron B. Reeves Jr., 57, of Kissimmee
    Accident: 3:45 a.m. 3/20/00
    on Boggy Creek Road near Orlando in Orange
    Speed: 55 mph
    Seat belt: No
    Tires: ATX (recalled)
    Reeves was driver , no passengers
    Legal status: Unknown

    Jennifer E. Martin, 21, of Huntsville, Ala.
    Accident: 9:49 a.m. 6/14/98 on Florida’s Turnpike in Orange
    Speed: 65 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: FR480 (not recalled)
    Vehicle: 1988 Ford Bronco II
    One of two people in vehicle
    Legal status: Sued both

    Darrell A. Scott, 32, of Muldraugh, Ky.
    Accident: 6:05 p.m. 6/9/00 on Florida’s Turnpike in Sumter
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tire: ATX (recalled)
    Scott was driver, three passengers
    Legal status: Sued both

    Richard J. Niehaus, 83, of Cincinnati
    Accident: 4:18 p.m. 2/20/00 on I-75 in Alachua
    Speed: 70 mph
    Seat belt: Yes
    Tires: AT (not recalled)
    Niehaus was driver , no passengers
    Legal status: Did not sue, settled with Ford


    Research and graphic by Anita Kumar, Kitty Bennett and Jeff Goertzen of the Times

    Note: Four of the 41 victims are not accounted for in this list because details of their accidents were not available. Unless otherwise noted, all accidents involved Ford Explorers. Twenty-two accidents involved tires later recalled by Firestone. Nine accidents involved tires that have not been recalled. It is unknown if the tires involved in the five remaining accidents were recalled. In most cases, victims’ families sued both Ford and Firestone, as indicated on the map.

    Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, lawsuits and other court documents, newspaper reports, interviews with attorneys, victims and consumer groups. Map reproduced with permission by ©AAA


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