Goodyear Ruled Liable for Crash, Despite Speed and Alcohol Factors
Goodyear and US based tyre retailer Big 10 Tire have been informed that they, rather than speed and alcohol, are accountable for a crash that killed one young man and injured two. The Mississippi Court of Appeals has upheld a US$2.1 million verdict against the two companies originally decided upon in autumn 2006.
It all began in the summer of 2000 with an enjoyable evening of drinking followed by a drive through the countryside at what can be described as a faster than leisurely pace. The journey came to an abrupt and unexpected end when a tree impeded the progress of the men’s vehicle. The driver was killed and his two passengers injured.
According to Mississippi authorities, driver Travis Kirkby, 20, had a blood alcohol level of 0.25 per cent at the time of the collision, more than triple the legal limit for an adult driver. His Chevrolet Camaro was estimated to be travelling at almost 90 mph (145 km/h) on the rural highway.
Despite these two factors, the lawsuit against Goodyear and Big 10 Tire alleged the presence of a faulty right hand side rear tyre. The tyres were fitted by a car dealership in Jackson, Mississippi, where Kirkby bought the used Camaro. According to Mike Allred, attorney for one of the two injured passengers, the Big 10 outlet that sold the tyres to the dealership “advertised, sold and labelled the tyres as being high-performance when the truth is they were … rated for a passenger car” rather than sports cars such as a Camaro. Allred added that the tyre failed at 10,000 miles when it was rated for 50,000.
The car dealership that sold the vehicle settled out of court, however Goodyear and Big 10 attributed the accident to excessive speed, Kirby’s intoxication and a puncture caused by hitting something in the road, court records indicate. However a two-week trial in 2006, in which the jury heard testimony that the tyre failed due to a defect, resulted in the companies being found liable.