Case No. BCVBS 07670
Superior Court of the State of California For the County of San
Bernardino – Barstow District
Lucero et al. v. Ford Motor Co. and Continental Tire
Lucero v. Ford Motor Company and Continental Tire
Law Offices of Raymond Paul Johnson
2121 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 3400
South Bay Los Angeles
El Segundo, California 90245
Law Office of Terrance Ponchak
732 Ninth Street, Suite 101
San Pedro, California 90731
Yoka & Smith, LLP
707 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 5000
Los Angeles, California 90017
Counsel for Continental Tire North America, Inc.
Crowe & Rogan, LLP
100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 200
Santa Monica, California 90401-1111
Counsel for Ford Motor Co. And ABC Group dba Ford West
Snell & Wilmer, LLP
1920 Main Street, Suite 1200
Irvine, California 92614-7060
Co-Counsel for Ford Motor Co.
Robert Lloyd Anderson
Accident reconstruction, stability, handling and control
Applied Research and Investigations Phoenix, Arizona
Mark W. Arndt
Stability, handling and control during tread detachment
Transportation Safety Technologies, Inc. Mesa, Arizona
William G. Broadhead
Occupant restraint systems
Automotive Safety Research, Inc. Santa Barbara, California
Dennis Carlson, P.E.
Tries, defects, history and testing
Carlson Engineering, Inc. Tucson, Arizona
Thomas J. Feaheny
Occupant protection systems, laminated/glazed glass
Automotive Consulting Rochester Hills, Michigan
Joyce Pickersgill, Ph.D.
Formuzis, Pickersgill & Hunt, Inc. Santa Ana, California
David A. Posey, M.D.
Glenoaks Pathology Medical Group, Inc. La Cañada, California
Anthony Sances, Jr., Ph.D.
Biomechanics and occupant kinematics
Biomechanics Institute, Ltd. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
William L. Anderson
Accident scene investigation and documentation
Palm Desert, California
Thomas L. Bennett, M.D.
Pathology Consultants, P.C. Billings, Montana
Edward M. Caulfield, Ph.D., P.E.
Michael W. Rogers, P.E.
Packer Engineering, Inc. Naperville, Illinois
John W. Daws, Ph.D., P.E.
Stephen J. Fenton, P.E.
Knott Laboratory, Inc. Englewood, Colorado
James D. Gardner
Failure analysis of automotive tires
Geoffrey J. Germane, Ph.D.
Germane Engineering Provo, Utah
Vehicle handling, accident reconstruction
Vector Scientific Los Angeles, California
Lawrence M. McKenna
Body Systems Analysis, Inc. Algonac, Michigan
Jubin Merati, Ph.D.
Merati Economic Group, Inc. Los Angeles, California
Richard L. Morrison
Glass and glazing
Glass & Glazing Forensics LLC Southfield, Michigan
Larry F. Ragan
Ragan Research Corporation Livonia, Michigan
Dennis C. Schneider, Ph.D.
Biokinetic Engineering, Inc. Los Osos, California
Donald F. Tandy, Jr.
Stability and handling
Tandy Engineering & Associates, Inc. The Woodlands, Texas
Jeffrey B. Wheeler
Biomechanics, accident reconstruction, restraints
Vector Scientific Los Angeles, California
TYPE OF CASE:
Ford Expedition Rollover/Tire Failure
DATE OF COLLISION:
May 18, 2002
Northbound on Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County,
Antonio Lucero (75)
Maria Lucero (68)
Eva Rodriguez (48)
Jose Rodriguez (47)
Yolanda Flores (45)
Ismael Flores (50)
Antonia Lucero (retried)
Maria Lucero (homemaker)
Eva Rodriguez (homemaker)
Jose Rodriguez (mechanic)
Yolanda Flores (Student Transportation)
Ismael Flores (Mobile Oil employee)
NATURE OF THE CASE:
On May 18, 2002, three couples, Antonia and Maria Lucero,
Jose and Evan Rodriguez and Ismael and Yolanda Flores were
traveling in a 2000 Ford Expedition northbound on Interstate
15 in San Bernardino County, California. Suddenly and
without warning, the tread detached on their rear
Continental Grabber AW tire. The Expedition went out of
control and immediately rolled over, killing all six (6)
occupants. As a result of the rollover, bodies were ejected,
crushed and mangled, including decapitation and
The Ford Expedition, a sister vehicle to the Ford
Explorer, exhibits a dangerous oversteer defect in the event
of a tire failure, particularly tread separation. When the
tread on the left rear Continental tire detached, the Ford
Expedition became inherently unstable, and as result rolled
over. The Grabber AW tires were prone to tread separation
because of manufacturing and design defects.
Prior to these deaths, Ford and Continental officials
held discussions and meetings regarding the exceedingly high
number of returned tires, claims and injuries related to use
of Continental’s Grabber AW tires on the Ford Expedition and
other Ford products. Yet, no warnings or recalls were
initiated until August 2002, months after this particular
rollover which spurred joint recalls by Ford and
Continental. The Grabber AW tires were recalled for not
having adequate rubber gauge along the belt edge which could
lead to tread separation and loss of vehicle control. Ford
conducted its own related recall of the Model Year 2000
Expedition due to tire placards on the vehicle that
prescribed lower than recommended tire pressure.
The subject Ford Expedition had Grabber AW tires whose
condition were beyond serviceable life. The failed left tire
was improperly repaired. The worn condition of the vehicle’s
other tires should have given notice to the owner of the
vehicle to replace the tires. The condition of the right
front tire was worn beyond legal limits and the vehicle
should not have been on the road. When the left rear tire
failed, the driver of the Ford Expedition overcorrected and
applied excessive braking input, contributing to the
rollover. Each of the four ejected occupants were either
wearing their seatbelts improperly or not at all.
Hon. John P. Vander Feer
May 17, 2005
May 13, 2005