On October 3, 2010, four people were killed and 15 were injured in a 15-passenger van accident in Georgia. According to news reports, the fatal rollover crash occurred when a 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon van carrying 19 people blew a tire and went out of control on US 27 near Blakely. The van was driven by Kenasha Seldon. The van allegedly struck the median and rolled over several times ejecting all of the occupants, who were members of the Tabernacle of Prayer and Deliverance in Columbus. The passengers ranged in age from 11 months to adults in their 40s. The deceased victims of this horrific crash have been identified as: Apostle Ronmyka D. Williams, 20-year-old Jennifer Walton, 19-year-old Cameron Freeman and 13-year-old Jasmin Shelly. Attorney Larry Jones says, "These passenger vans are inherently dangerous and tend to cause deaths far too often." Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's research shows that there is a significant rollover risk in 15-passenger vans. In 2006, 50 percent of occupant fatalities that occurred were in vans that were fully loaded. These vans are known to be unstable because of their design. Other factors that typically contribute to 15-passenger van rollover crashes include improperly inflated tires, defective tires and inexperienced drivers. In this particular case, it appears that a defective or poorly inflated tire may have caused the rollover accident. According to the NHTSA, 1,100 people were killed in 15-passenger rollover crashes between 1992 and 2002 in the United States. Auto Products Liability Issues Although it is illegal for school districts to use 15-passenger vans for transportation, a number of childcare centers, senior centers, churches, colleges and community groups use them to transport smaller groups of people. These organizations continue to utilize these dangerous and defective vans in spite of what we know today about them. Victims of 15-passenger vans would be well advised to seek the counsel of a nationally renowned auto products liability lawyer, who has successfully handled 15-passenger van rollover cases on behalf of injured victims and their families.
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