Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal

taybiz Member Photo

Clipped by taybiz

2-FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2001 VEHICLE SHOWCASE LAKE AND MEN0OCINO COUNTIES 'In an instant, they were gone' - an Explorer-Firestone ease *^ ^aP^ 5 , ^ „..«,-_ «•--_, i-is-i. —i. iL--jfc 4 jf *•*»*•«* AAcVA By CHELSEA J. CARTER AttoclftfttlfttttiWrR* A s she drove along the Wyoming interstate, Jeanette Meek's only thoughts were about how great het family vacation was going. Her husband and a granddaughter rode with her in the Ford Explorer. Her son, daughter-in-law and other granddaughter followed behind. Then she felt the shudder. A blowout. Suddenly, she was spinning through the air, flipping over and over. Glass shattered. Metal crunched, then nothing. When she came to, hanging by her seat belt, the Explorer was upside down, and so was her world. Moments before, her husband had been buckled in the passenger seat. He was gone. Her 13-year-old granddaughter was dangling halfway out a window. When the Meek family began their vacation last summer - traveling more than 1,000 miles from their home in California's San Joaquin Valley - they had received no warning of a potential tire problem. While camping, they were unaware of a talks continue in hundreds of others. recall of millions of Bridgestone/Pirestone tires due to reported tread separations. The Meeks' Explorer had those tires, and a Wyoming state patrol report would confirm that a left rear tire blowout caused the accident, "In an instant, they were gone," Jeanette Meek says. "Then 1 find Out these two major American companies knew about these problems and didn't tell us. They took my husband and my granddaughter, and now I want to know why?" Early last August, Ford and Firestone officials met to discuss the recall of Radial ATX tires - at the same time that Don Mason was examining the ATX tires on the Meeks' Explorer, according to documents in the family's lawsuit against the companies. Gaffy Lynn Meek had driven his wife's SUV to his old friend Mason's tire shop in FafmetsviHe, an agricultural community of 7,100 about 50 Stiles south Of Fresno. It was his routine before each vacation. As the former Farmersville police chief and at the time a sheriff's deputy, the 56-year-old Meek had seen firsthand the dangers that faced drivers who didn't lake care of their vehicles. "They looked good to me," Mason would later say of the tires. The back tires were inflated to at least 26 PSI, Ford's recommendation at the time, court records would show. At the time of the accident, the only tire not deflated measured 27 PSI, within range of Ford's recommendation. Bridgestone/Firestone has said Ford's recommended inflation rate was too low and contributed to the blowouts. Ford has blamed the tire manufacturer, saying the tires were defective. Recently, after an additional 13 million tires were recalled, the two companies severed a nearly century-long business relationship. Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. declined to cofliment on the Meeks' case, citing pendmg litigation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has collected reports of at least 114 fatalities and more than 700 injuries among more than 6,000 U.S. complaints that cite blowouts and other problems with certain Firestone tires. Most of the accidents involved rollovers of the Ford Explorer, on which Firestone tires were standard equipment. Oh Aug. 6, the Meek family piled into two vehicles for their camping trip ttear Big Piney, Wyo, The tire recall would be issued two days later. The vacation was what getaways were supposed to be about - rest, relaxation and fun.' While Garry and His son, James, went fishing, Jeanette took long walks with her two granddaughters, 13-year-old Amy and 10- year-old Melissa, sharing secrets and stories. The Meeks' daughter-in-law, Roseanne, spent time with them, too. None of them remembers hearing about the See FIRESTONE, Page 3

Clipped from
  1. Ukiah Daily Journal,
  2. 13 Jul 2001, Fri,
  3. Page 20

taybiz Member Photo
  • Clipped by taybiz – 01 May 2013

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in