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Woman sues Ford after Goliad crash

By Jessica Priest
March 26, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2014 at 10:26 p.m.


An Ingleside woman who was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Goliad County three years ago is suing Ford Motor Co.

Carmen Tamez, 31, was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport at an unsafe speed March 12, 2011.

She veered off Farm-to-Market Road 622, steered hard to the left to get back onto the roadway and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic.

Then, Tamez steered hard to the right, causing the vehicle to skid and roll over one time, landing upright, according to a Department of Public Safety report.

Tamez claims the crash was caused because her vehicle was defective.

Ford's defective design decisions date to as early as 1989, and the company modeled its Explorer Sport after the Bronco II, which performed poorly in the field, Tamez wrote in court documents.

The Explorer Sport was unstable because of its track width, center of gravity height, wheelbase, suspension and skate tendencies, among other things. The company knew this or had access to information that would have showed the defects and failed to publicize it, Tamez wrote.

Tamez also claims her seat belt retractor unlocked, causing the seat belt to spool. She claimed she was ejected from the side window because it was fitted with tempered glass.

Laminated glass provides superior protection, she wrote.

Ford, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing and wrote in court documents that if anything, Tamez hurt herself.

The Explorer Sport complied with safety regulations set by the federal government, which allows manufacturers to choose between tempered glass, glass-plastic and laminated glazing for windows, the Michigan-based company wrote in court documents.

Ford asked for the case to be governed by tort reform, which stipulates that Tamez may not collect damages if a jury finds her more than 50 percent responsible for this incident.

Ford also asked that if Tamez's claims prevail, the amount of some of her damages be capped at $750,000.

Ford's attorney, Derek T. Rollins, of Brownsville, declined to comment about the case.

Tamez's attorney, Lannie Todd Kelly, of Austin, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The case was transferred to federal court in February because Ford does business throughout the U.S. and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

Judge Gregg Costa is presiding over the case. The parties are tentatively scheduled to announce a trial date in 2015. They have agreed to go to mediation at least 30 days before then.

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