Family sues GM over death of family member

April 12, 2011 at 6 p.m.
Updated April 11, 2011 at 11:12 p.m.

A Port Lavaca family is suing General Motors for what they claim is a family member's wrongful death.

The plaintiffs are all related to Adrian Wilson, the former La Marque High School football star who was killed in a rollover accident in April 2010 on U.S. Highway 87 in Victoria County.

Sasha Medina Wilson, Adrian's widow and mother of his child; Frederick Campbell, Adrian's father; and Cheryl Wilson, Adrian's mother, filed the suit in federal court on March 31.

The plaintiffs claim General Motors, whose principal office is in Michigan, is to blame for Adrian's death because of the instability, lack of crashworthiness and restraint system failure of the 1999 Oldsmobile Bravada sport utility vehicle he was driving at the time of the wreck.

Bill Betts, spokesman for GM, declined to comment on the case per a company policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation.

An attorney was not yet listed for GM.

Adrian fell asleep at the wheel in Placedo while on his way home to Port Lavaca from work, according to earlier reports.

During the accident, the Bravada's roof and supporting structures crushed inward and the seatbelt that Adrian was wearing along with the glass and/or side air curtain restraints, which all comprise the occupant protection system on the vehicle, failed to keep him restrained, according to the lawsuit.

These defects resulted in Adrian being partially ejected from the SUV and fatally injured.

"When a car rolls over, if the roof can't support the weight of the car, it either kills or seriously injures the person in the car," said David Bright, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit contends that GM was negligent because it failed to design, manufacture and market the product so that its roof would not crush unreasonably into the passenger compartment and its occupant protection system would adequately restrain the passenger during a foreseeable rollover event.

The plaintiffs also claim GM committed negligence by not only placing the product on the market without adequate warnings about the dangers of the product, but also by failing to adequately test the product to discover its dangerous nature.

"Defendant knew of this extreme risk, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others, including Adrian Wilson," according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are seeking survival damages along with damages for mental anguish, loss of inheritance, past and future pecuniary losses and loss of companionship and love.

"People think they are safer in an SUV. The fact is that when they do roll over, they can't be safe when the roof caves in," said Bright, who also said the age of the SUV had nothing to do with the defective roof. "Rollovers statistically result in a much higher rate of injury or death. That statistic alone makes it important to make sure SUVs have a strong roof."

The family could not be reached for comment.



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