Crown Victoria Safety Alert News 2003
Senate committee finds effort to improve safety of Crown Vics should continue
WHITE PLAINS – A state Senate committee released its findings Monday on the safety of Ford Crown Victorias. Safety of Crown Victoria police cruisers made headlines in Westchester after State Trooper Robert Ambrose was killed last December. Ambrose was in his police cruiser when he was struck from behind by another car. The impact caused his Crown Vic to burst into flames.
Newspaper: Crown Vic rear-crash fire fatality toll worse than government says
DETROIT – More people have died in fiery rear-impact crashes in the Ford Crown Victoria and two similar sedans than federal regulators say, a newspaper reported Monday. The regulators, who focused mainly on police cases when they cleared the vehicles and their rear-mounted gas tanks of any manufacturing defects last year, counted 16 fatalities in rear-impact fires in cars built between 1992 and 2001.
|N O V E M B E R|
Phoenix police to test Impalas as patrol cars
Phoenix could buy 30 Chevrolet Impala police cars to test as possible replacements for its fleet of Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, which have been implicated in the fire deaths of 14 patrolmen nationwide, including three in Arizona.
Versed lawyers will aid in patrol-car suit
LAKE CITY – Out-of-state lawyers who have handled other cases involving Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers will be part of the legal team representing a deputy’s family in a lawsuit against the car maker over his death. David Perry of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Patrick McGroder III of Phoenix are two of the lawyers a judge has allowed to participate in the case, filed by Robert and Patricia Davis, the parents of Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Jefferson Hancock Davis. They are suing the Ford Motor Co. in connection with the death of their 24-year-old son after his patrol car’s fiery crash.
Sheriff’s deputy injured as car is hit from behind
SUN CITY – A Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy was injured Friday near 91st Avenue and Thunderbird Road when his Ford Crown Victoria cruiser was struck from behind by another automobile.
SUV’s may hit the street for Pantego police force
PANTEGO – Pantego could be the latest city to change its police vehicles from the Crown Victoria. The Town Council on Monday night approved the police chief’s request to look for four new sport utility vehicles to lease-purchase as soon as next month.
|O C T O B E R|
Motorist pleads guilty in crash that killed Missouri trooper
Paul Daniel, accused of causing a three-vehicle wreck that killed a Missouri Highway trooper and severely burned another motorist pleaded guilty today to four misdemeanor charges. Trooper Newton and the motorist, Michael Nolte, were inside the trooper’s Crown Victoria on eastbound Interstate 70. A one-ton pickup truck, pulling a trailer, veered onto the shoulder and slammed onto them. The Crown Victoria then hit Nolte’s car. Newton died after the car burst into flames Nolte was severely injured.
Crown Vic is debated for sheriff
“I don’t think you can be in law enforcement and not be concerned about it,” Sheriff Dee Anderson said of the Crown Victoria’s safety record. He said he prefers that the county purchase Ford Expeditions, but will defer to the commissioners’ judgment.
Sheriff’s deputy escapes serious injury
Matt Dominick, a deputy with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, escaped serious injury and possibly death in an accident last Saturday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and County Road R18. Dominick, who was in the path of the vehicle, jumped clear just before the vehicle slammed into the rear of his patrol car. The impact forced the patrol car forward some 75 feet where it burst into flames and exploded.
|S E P T E M B E R|
Blindsided again, this time by one of his own
Phoenix Police Officer Jason Schechterle never saw it coming. He was stunned, he said, blindsided. He talks about that day six months ago in an Albany, N.Y., hearing room the way he sometimes talks about the fiery crash that nearly killed him in 2001. “It was completely unexpected,” he said. “The people around me were horrified and really angry. Me, I couldn’t believe it.”
|A U G U S T|
Natural gas may fix Crown Victoria police cars
DALLAS – Nearly half of the Dallas City Council seems inclined to convert some of the city’s Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor cars to run on compressed natural gas in hopes that it would improve safety and be better for the environment. City leaders have struggled with the cars’ safety since officer Patrick Metzler died in a fiery crash in October. The city has sued Ford Motor Co. and has refused to purchase any more Crown Victorias.
Senator Calls For Retrofits On Ford Police Cruisers
ALBANY, N.Y. — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer urged the Ford Motor Co. Tuesday to retrofit Crown Victoria police cruisers with a fire suppression system Ford will offer as an option on 2005 models. “It’s great that Ford has come up with this new system for its 2005 models, but what about the 350,000 police cars that are already on the road?” Schumer said.
Crown Vic to be changed
Ford’s anti-fire plan may prompt city to reconsider police cars
Ford Motor Co.’s announcement Thursday of its plan to develop a fire-suppression system to reduce Crown Victoria fuel-tank fires sparked by rear-end collisions could prompt Dallas officials to reconsider their decision to stop buying the cruisers.
Crown Vics may get fire douser
Ford to offer fire-suppressant item; lawyer applauds automaker’s move
The bosses at one of the world’s biggest automobile makers have heeded lawyers – including a local attorney – and promised Thursday to make police cars safer. Executives at Ford Motor Co. said they came up with a way to make the Crown Victoria, the sedan often found equipped with sirens and flashing lights, less prone to flaming up after rear-end collisions.
Ford To Offer Fire Suppression On Crown Victoria
ST. LOUIS — Ford Motor Co. (F) confirmed Wednesday that it will offer fire-suppression technology on its Crown Victoria police cars, which are used nationwide, but some say it’s unclear whether the technology will be enough.
More Details Released On Accident That Killed Trooper
Highway Patrol Issues Statewide Memo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More details have been released as to why a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper’s car burst into flames. Trooper Michael Newton, 25, died in a fiery crash May 22 when a truck hit the back of his patrol car parked along Interstate 70 during a traffic stop.
Police Cars May Switch From Gasoline To Natural Gas
DALLAS — Dallas City Hall is considering a plan to replace gas tanks on Ford Crown Victoria police cars with natural gas, but many police officers and their unions say that is a lousy plan.
|J U L Y|
|Two Texas Locales Make Decisions about CVPI’s
Tarrant County (Ft. Worth, TX) has decided that they will not buy any more Crown Victoria Police Interceptors.
Mesquite, TX, near Dallas, approved the spending for fire panels, fuel safety bladders and trunk packs for all 105 police cars.
City of Dallas releases final Ford Crown Victoria crash test findings report
The City today released final findings of three crash tests of the Ford Crown Victoria police car, along with dramatic new videos and photos of the tests confirming the vehicle fails Ford’s own 75 mph crash test standard for rear-impact safety.
Ford cuts off suing police
In the last week or so, Ford sent letters, dated July 10, to 36 police departments that are part of a class-action against the company informing them that the automaker no longer will accept orders for Crown Victoria Police Interceptors from them because they are demanding “unrealistic vehicle crash performance specifications.”.
Memorial for fallen trooper unveiled
WHITE PLAINS – New York State troopers gathered Friday to unveil a memorial to the fallen officer who was killed when his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car exploded in a car crash.
Crown Vic trunk packs may worsen problem
DALLAS, July 16 (UPI) — A device Ford hoped would protect Crown Victoria police cars from fuel tank leaks actually could make the problem worse, according to crash tests.
Crash Tests Show Crown Victoria Fails Ford’s Own 75 MPH Standard for Police Safety
DALLAS, TX — City officials rushed to announce results of three crash tests of Ford Crown Victoria police cars today after one test showed the installation of a Ford trunk safety package may actually increase the danger of major fuel spillage and risk of burn injury in rear-end crashes.
Police seek vehicle fire guards, Called ‘third piece of safety puzzle’
PHOENIX – Police want to install a fire-suppression system into its fleet of Crown Victoria police cruisers to further protect officers from flames if two other safeguards fail. “This is the third piece of the safety puzzle,” said Jake Jacobsen, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. “Now we have a redundant safety system, each one designed to do something a little different.”
Autopsy on patrol car may tell why trooper died
Waiting somewhere in the charred, twisted hulk is a vital clue, perhaps several. Federal investigators began digging for that evidence today, hoping to find the cause of a May 23 crash that killed Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Michael Newton. Investigators from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are conducting what they call an autopsy of Newton’s patrol car, a Ford Crown Victoria. They will work all today and until the afternoon Wednesday.
|J U N E|
Ford named in police vehicle suit
Madison County, don’t rest on your laurels. A St. Clair County lawsuit filed against Ford Motor Co. over the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was certified as a class-action this week. And one lawyer projected the case may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. . . . The lawsuit alleges the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors used as police cruisers present a danger to officers because of the rear fuel tank which could rupture during a rear-end collision and burst into flames.
Crown Vic faces further scrutiny, Attorneys general task force to probe Ford police interceptors over fire-related deaths
WASHINGTON — The nation’s attorneys general formed a task force Friday to investigate the safety of Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. The bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General took the step at the group’s national meeting in Oklahoma City. The probe is the latest in a string of actions by states and cities concerned about the safety record of the Crown Vic. Since 1996, more than a dozen police officers have died in fires when their cruisers were struck from behind.
Union acts to protect troopers from car fires
Albany — PBA president advises no highway stops except in emergencies Ê By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau First published: Friday, June 13, 2003 The union for State Police troopers is advising its members not to stop on highways for non-emergencies — apparently including routine tickets. In an unprecedented move, the State Troopers PBA President Daniel M. De Federicis is advising members to take steps to minimize the chances of accidents with their Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles, several of which have had fires after rear-end crashes.
Dallas Announces Independent Crash Test and urges other cities to investigate CVPI usage, Sends Personal Plea to William Clay Ford, Jr. to end Police Car Fires.
Dallas City Council announced that the city will conduct its own crash test of fire-safety equipped Ford Crown Victoria Police Cars to determine if they offer enough protection to police officers against deadly fuel tank explosions. The city has also invited Fort Motor Co. to participate in this testing, stressing that the city’s goal is to promote cooperation among cities, law enforcement and the automaker in finding a solution to the Crown Victoria police care fuel-fed fires as soon as possible.
|M A Y|
N.Y. Sen. Wants Crown Victoria Probe
WASHINGTON – The recent death of a Missouri state trooper has prompted a New York senator to call on the federal government to reopen its investigation into Ford Motor Co.’s Crown Victoria, the most popular model police car. Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (news – web sites) on Wednesday, urging the agency to look into the issue of deadly gas tank explosions on the Crown Victoria. ”We know that there’s a problem, and now we need to figure out what we need to do to solve it,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “If that means changing cars so that a different model is used, so be it. Time is of the essence.” Police unions and some political leaders have complained about the safety record of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. About 350,000 of the vehicles are on the nation’s roads as patrol cars for approximately 80 percent of police departments. Since 1983, 14 officers have died in crashes when their Crown Victoria’s gas tank caught fire after being hit from behind.
Chicago Police Urge City to Not Buy CVPI’s
The head of Chicago’s police union urged the city Thursday to reconsider its decision to buy a fleet of Crown Victoria police cars after a Missouri state trooper’s fiery death in one of the cars renewed safety concerns. Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he believes fuel tanks of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor are vulnerable to exploding when the cars are rear-ended at high speeds.
Dallas to buy no more Crown Victorias
The Dallas City Council decided Wednesday not to buy any more Crown Victoria police cruisers, which have come under increasing criticism as being prone to erupt in flames when hit from behind at high speeds. “We did that today informally as a council upon advice of our attorney,” Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said. “I go to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday, and I’d like to get a lot more vocal about the fact that we have a major problem that Ford isn’t recognizing. Ford needs to do something,” Miller said.
Panel to review police-car safety: Bolton wants advice on avoiding potentially disastrous collisions
Chief Terrell Bolton is looking for ways to make the Ford Crown Victoria squad car safer for his officers. The chief said Tuesday that he has appointed a committee to review whether changes can be made in the positioning of parked squad cars, particularly when on freeways, to reduce the chance of a rear-end collision that could affect the gasoline tank. “I’ve asked the officers who do the work every day to provide me with some input,” Chief Bolton said. More than a dozen law enforcement officers nationwide have died from fuel-fed fires in Crown Victoria rear-end collisions. A Dallas officer was killed last year.
Trooper killed in fiery collision
A Missouri state trooper died in a fiery traffic crash near Higginsville in Lafayette County early Thursday morning. Trooper Michael L. Newton, 25, assigned to Zone 9 in Lafayette County made a traffic stop at about 7 a.m. near highway marker 47. He was in his cruiser with the other driver, Michael Nolte, 48, of Overland Park, Kan., when a pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer hit the patrol car from behind.
Explosion Prompts Concern About Police Cars: Crown Victorias Under Scrutiny
DALLAS — New concerns are emerging from a car accident involving a Dallas police officer. A police cruiser burst into flames Saturday morning after being rear-ended on the westbound lanes of I-30 near the Hampton exit. NBC 5 News’ Allison Smith reported on the concerns surrounding Ford Crown Victorias, which Dallas police officers drive. Not much more than a steel, burned-out metal cage was left of the police car that exploded Saturday. The officer had just stepped out of the car to help a motorist in a stalled vehicle when police say a truck slammed into the back of his car, causing the explosion.
D.C. Police Cruiser Bursts Into Flames After Crash
WASHINGTON — D.C. police have many questions following a fiery crash this weekend involving a police cruiser. The crash happened in southeast Washington Saturday afternoon. Investigators said police were responding to a situation at Naylor Road and Southern Avenue when another car hit a parked vehicle and a police car. Nine people were hurt in the crash, including five police officers. The police car, a Ford Crown Victoria, burst into flames as it was pushed up along the side of the road.
|A P R I L|
Disfigured Phoenix police officer testifies before Texas Legislature
AUSTIN, TX — Jason Schechterle says children get scared, squirm, cry and stare when they see his hideously disfigured face, patched skin and hairless head. Testifying before a Senate committee Monday morning, the 30-year-old Phoenix police officer recalled in a matter-of-fact voice the night in March 2001 that forever altered his life. A taxicab rear-ended his Ford Crown Victoria police car, causing an explosion and fire.
|M A R C H|
Police seeking new cruiser
ALBANY — New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon is shopping around for possible alternatives to the Ford Motor Co.’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. While the Interceptor has all but cornered the market nationally on the police patrol car business, the model has come under attack in New York and other parts of the country because of its alleged propensity for fuel system fires when struck from behind at high speeds. A New York state trooper died in such a fire in December when his Interceptor, parked on the shoulder of the state Thruway in Yonkers, was hit from behind by a drunken driver.
Jason Schechterle, 30, speaks throughout the country on how his life changed on March 26, 2001, when his patrol car was struck from behind by a taxicab. ”I want to let them see me and let them hear what happens when you do survive a fuel-fed fire,” said the father of three, including a baby born Oct. 29.
Bolt “Fix” Improperly Installed–New York State Police
State Police are inspecting their fleet of Crown Victoria cars after finding Ford dealerships improperly installed shields designed to prevent them from erupting in flames when rear-ended. State troopers last week found the shields, which are supposed to prevent bolts in the rear axle and suspension from penetrating the gas tank, were not properly installed in 25 percent of the cars belonging to Troop E, based in Rochester.
Ford says safety kits for Crown Vic cruisers unproven
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Two fuel system safety devices being considered by the New York State Police for the 1,100 Crown Victoria Interceptors in its fleet have not been proven to work, a Ford Motor Co. executive said at a state Senate hearing Tuesday. Neither a fuel tank bladder nor a fire suppression device have conclusively been shown as effective or feasible in testing Ford is conducting, said Susan Cischke, Ford vice president for environmental and safety engineering.
Senator says Ford should pay for CVPI repairs
SACRAMENTO — An Orange County lawmaker fears that California’s law enforcement agencies will end up paying millions of dollars to modify fleets of Crown Victoria patrol cruisers to make them safer – a cost he believes should be borne by Ford Motor Co.
HILL: LET’S FIX ‘EXPLODING’ POLICE CARS
ALBANY – State Police officials are retrofitting safety devices on an allegedly fire-prone model of the Ford Crown Victoria, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pushes for that and other safety devices to be installed on all such police cruisers. The Crown Victoria accounts for about 80 percent of police cars nationwide.
Official says Ford flunked own crash test
DALLAS – City Attorney Madeleine Johnson on Friday said that Ford Motor Co. is misleading the public about the safety of its popular law enforcement car, the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. During a press conference at City Hall, Johnson said that Ford officials have not been upfront about gas tank leakage that occurred last summer during one of its crash tests.
|F E B R U A R Y|
Attorney: Ford misled public on Crown Victoria
Dallas City Attorney Madeleine Johnson on Friday accused Ford Motor Co. of misleading the public into believing that installing protective shields around the Crown Victoria police car’s fuel tank would make it safer. “Instead of the success Ford claimed it was, the crash test obviously was an abject failure and calls seriously into question Ford’s claims that the new fuel tank shields are enough to solve Crown Vic fuel tank safety problems,” she said. Ms. Johnson said that Ford did not reveal that during crash testing there had been 40 ounces of leakage. Federal standards set the limit at 1 ounce, said Ms. Johnson, who is suing the automaker in an effort to determine whether the popular police cruiser is safe for law enforcement after the October death of a Dallas police officer.
Disfigured officer sues Ford for negligence
PHOENIX (AP) — A police officer who was disfigured when his Crown Victoria patrol car burst into flames after a crash sued Ford Motor Co. on Thursday, alleging the company had put an “unreasonably dangerous” car on the market. Officer Jason Schechterle’s lawsuit seeks unspecified amounts for his pain, his medical expenses and lost wages. It also seeks punitive damages.
Officer’s parents sue Ford over patrol car death
DALLAS – The parents of a police officer killed when the gas tank of his Crown Victoria patrol car exploded after being struck by a speeding vehicle filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing Ford Motor Co. of negligence, aggravated assault and malice.Philip and Patricia Metzler of Colorado Springs, Colo., are seeking unspecified damages in the wrongful-death lawsuit that was filed in a state district court. It contends that their son’s death could have been prevented if Ford had made safety modifications to prevent the gas tank from exploding in such collisions.
|Testimony Reveals Crown Victoria “Fix” Available to Civilians–at Consumer’s expense
Testimony by Kim Goering, Recall and Service Programs Manager for Ford Motor Co., taken in conjunction with class action litigation before a federal court in Cleveland, reveals Ford is making Crown Victoria “upgrade” kits available to civilians, but at their own expense. For more information, contact your local Ford dealer. Following is an excerpt from her testimony:Q. What I’m understanding you to say is that there is no intent to make these kits available to civilian vehicles free of charge?
Goering: That is correct.
Q. But there is an intent to make them available that civilian owners can purchase them and have them installed on their vehicles at some sort of a normal retail cost?
Goering: Correct. And that’s available right now.
New York Troopers Assn. ask for CVPI fix two months before officer’s death
The Division of State Police was far too slow in having these patrol cars retrofitted. In fact, division had assured the PBA in October that retrofitting these vehicles would be a priority. Two months later, however, Trooper Robert Ambrose was killed when a sport utility vehicle crashed into the rear of his non-retrofitted Crown Victoria and it burst into flames.
|J A N U A R Y|
Suit Blames Ford for Crown Victoria Defect
NEW YORK (AP)–A police group has filed a lawsuit claiming that Ford failed to fix a defect that can cause its Crown Victoria police cruisers to erupt in flames when hit from behind. The National Association of Police Organizations Inc., which represents more than 1,000 police unions around the country, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Manhattan Federal Court.
Official: Ford to provide information on police cars
The Associated Press
Web Posted : 01/30/2003 1:01 PM
Ford Motor Co. is expected to provide the city with information about the safety of Crown Victoria police cars, the city attorney said Thursday. Dallas sued Ford for the information in December, two months after a city officer was killed when his Crown Victoria was hit and caught fire. At least 12 officers have died nationwide since 1983 in Crown Victorias, which police groups say are prone to erupt in flames when hit from behind at high speeds.
|Illinois Sheriff’s Assn. Recommends Moratorium on CVPI
Calls for Ford to Find a Solution and Joins Class Action SuitIn a recently adopted resolution, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association sited the number of officers injured and killed when their CVPIs were rear-ended in calling for:
Crown Vic orders suspended: Louisiana stops purchases, cites gas tank explosions
WASHINGTON — Louisiana’s attorney general issued Thursday a moratorium on purchases of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor by the state until Ford Motor Co. can guarantee the vehicle will not burst into flames when involved in collisions. Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub cited two recent deaths in explaining his decision: the Oct. 23, 2002, death of Dallas police officer Thomas Metzler and a Dec. 20 crash that killed New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose.
Louisiana Moratorium on CVPI’s
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub recommended an immediate moratorium on the purchase of Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles until Ford assures the state that the vehicles will not burst into flames on rear impact, and backs that assurance with independent testing. By this action, Ieyoub announced stepped up efforts to protect Louisiana Law Enforcement from dangers associated with the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.
State Police: No Crown Victorias to be used until retrofitting
ALBANY, N.Y. — Ford Crown Victorias that have not been retrofitted to prevent fires following violent rear-end collisions have been pulled from patrol duty by New York state troopers, officials said Thursday. State Police Superintendent James McMahon said he has told supervisors not to send troopers out in vehicles not retrofitted with fuel tank shields.