An SUV rolled and crashed on Interstate-75 Wednesday morning when one of
its tires separated from the tread, causing the driver to lose control
of the vehicle and wreck.
Emergency responders pronounced the driver dead at the scene of the accident.
An additional six victims were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment
in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation. Five passengers survived the crash,
and one was pronounced dead later that day at the hospital.
The accident blocked eastbound I-75 for four hours while officials investigated
the scene of the wreck.
Understanding Tire Tread Failure Accidents
The accident is still under investigation, but news sources reported that
tire failure caused the SUV to wreck. In 2003, the National Traffic Highway
Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated the more than 10,000 accidents
and 400 fatalities were caused by
tire defects or failures.
While some instances of tire failure are cause by weather conditions, overloading,
under-inflation, and over-inflation, many are the result of defective
tires – tires with dangerous flaws that lead to blow outs, tread
separation, and accidents.
In fact, the NHTSA believes that
tread separation is the number-one cause of tire failures.
Attorney John Uustal, a partner at Kelley/Uustal, has extensive experience
helping families who have suffered injuries or the loss of the loved one
because of a tire defect.
“I have handled cases from all over the world involving tire tread
separations on Ford sport-utility vehicles, but it hit close to home to
see an article in my local paper about yet another deadly tread separation,
this time on a 2004 Ford Expedition,” he said.
“I remember the war Ford waged against us in these cases, the satisfaction
of resolving those cases for the families who suffered, and the hope that
no one else would die in a Ford Explorer in that way. My heart goes out
to the families involved in this latest rollover in Weston, Florida.”
Navigating a Tread Separation Lawsuit
Victims of tread separation and tire failure accidents have the right to
seek compensation for their injuries, losses, and other damages –
but fighting for compensation isn’t easy.
According to John, it is imperative to gather evidence immediately following
“I am sure the families have more important things on their mind,”
he said, “but I hope someone is preserving the evidence regarding
the tires and the vehicle.”
Important pieces of evidence include:
- Pieces of the tire from the scene of the accident
- Photographic documentation of tire marks on the ground
- Vehicle tires, once released by homicide investigators
- Documentation of the tire condition from a tire expert
In this specific case, John recommends photographing the scene at the time
of day when the accident occurred, preferably before daylight savings.
“Ford has a history of blaming the driver in cases like this, and
the evidence showing that the driver did nothing wrong needs to be collected
and preserved. The driver in this case, St. Pierre Mellien, was tragically
killed by the tread separation. He will not be alive to defend himself
– only the physical evidence can speak for him.”
We are passionate about helping accident victims. To learn more about your rights,
contact Kelley/Uustal today for a consultation.