Crown Victoria Safety Alert News 2004
|S E P T E M B E R|
|Prairie View officer killed in fiery crash
The fiery death of a Prairie View police officer has put the spotlight back on America’s most popular police car. Approximately 75 percent of the nation’s officers drive a Ford Crown Victoria, a car critics claim explodes too easily when hit from behind. That’s exactly what happened Sunday morning to Prairie View officer Jerome Sobieski.
Prairie View officer killed when cruiser rear-ended
|Lawyer argues Ford sold unsafe police cars
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP)—Ford Motor Co. continued to sell Crown Victoria police cars even after the deaths of several officers in fiery rear-end crashes showed the vehicles were unsafe, a lawyer for Illinois police departments told a jury Wednesday in the first class-action lawsuit to come to trial over the widely used cruisers’ safety.
|Ford goes to trial in suit claiming faulty police cars
Lawyers, police across nation watch as Ill. case unfolds
BELLEVILLE, Ill.—Ford Motor Co., North America’s second-largest automaker, went on trial Monday to answer allegations that it made a police cruiser that exploded in high-speed rear-end collisions and misrepresented the vehicle as safe.
|A U G U S T|
|Class-action status in Okaloosa suit against Ford Interceptors
Shalimar, FL – A judge Tuesday said police agencies around Florida can join a lawsuit filed by Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris over ford Motor Co.’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. Morris claims the popular police cars are unsafe because a number have exploded in flames when hit from behind.
|Police car catches fire after being rear-ended
A Metro Police officer was injured early Sunday morning when the police car he was driving caught fire after a four-car collision at a southeast Las Vegas intersection.
|Officer burned in Crown Vic settles suit
It wasn’t about the money when Phoenix police Detective Jason Schechterle sued Ford Motor Co. for negligence after he was horribly burned in an on-duty crash. His lawsuit and others like it effectively made the nation’s most popular police cruiser safer for officers across the country. On Tuesday, Schechterle and his lawyer announced a confidential settlement with Ford. The auto giant also recently settled with the family of Chandler police Officer Robert Nielsen, who was killed in June 2002, as well as with the families of officers killed in similar fiery crashes in New York, Texas and Florida. The dead officers burned alive after their Crown Victoria police cruisers exploded on impact.
|J U L Y|
|Officer burned when patrol car is hit by SUV
A police officer was hospitalized with second-degree burns on Friday after his patrol car exploded when it was hit by a sport utility vehicle driven by a suspected drunken driver. Officer Michael Moses, 30, had just pulled over a vehicle on Interstate 30 when his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car was struck from behind. He was listed in serious but stable condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on Friday afternoon.
|Arlington officer hurt in fiery crash
Charred remains of an SUV and an Arlington police car sit along I-30 Friday morning. An Arlington police officer and two others were injured early Friday morning when a sport utility vehicle slammed into the back of the officer’s squad car during a traffic stop along Interstate 30. Both vehicles skidded 100 feet and then burst into flames.
|Police: Officer Suffers Burns After Rear-Ended By Suspected Drunken Driver
Driver In Police Custody
ARLINGTON, Texas — An Arlington police officer is in a hospital after his cruiser was rear-ended by a suspected drunken driver early Friday morning, police say. The accident happened at about 12:30 a.m. on westbound Interstate 30 near Cooper Street. Officer Michael Moses had just pulled a driver over for a routine traffic stop, but before he could get out, a sport utility vehicle slammed into the patrol car, which burst into flames.
|Officer burned in fiery crash involving Crown Victoria
ARLINGTON – An Arlington traffic officer was in serious condition Friday at a Dallas hospital after he was injured in a fiery crash on Interstate 30, which police say was caused by a man suspected of drunken driving.
|M A Y|
|Federal Court Hands Police, Cities Victory In Ford Car Fire Lawsuits(CLEVELAND) – A federal judge has sent 15 class action lawsuits against the Ford Crown Victoria police car back to state courts for trial, handing law enforcement groups and municipalities a major victory in the fight to make the car safer.
Judge Donald C. Nugent issued the remand order May 21 saying that federal courts did not have jurisdiction in any of the cases except one. The cases had been grouped before the Cleveland court since 2002 in a process known as Products Liability Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
The decision clears the way for state courts to begin setting hearing dates.
“Ford will now have to start answering tough questions posed by municipalities and law enforcement agencies across the country about why it continued to make a car that was killing police officers, and why it continued to deceive the country about the safety of the Crown Victoria,” said David Perry, of Corpus Christi, TX, a leading attorney in the MDL litigation.
The class-action lawsuits returned to state court involve the following plaintiffs:
One case involving an individual, Daniel Smith, of Florida, was retained by the court.
Among other things, Ford had maintained that the lawsuits belonged in federal court because they were preempted by federal law through the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Act, and that relief would require a federal recall. Judge Nugent ruled, however, in favor of the plaintiffs, who asserted that all cases were state statutory or common law claims.
At least 18 police officers have been killed in fuel-fed fires in Ford police cars.
|Officer’s family settles Ford suit
Attorney David Perry of Corpus Christi said the family of officer Patrick Metzler has reached an agreement with Ford and is finalizing the details, which he declined to disclose.DALLAS – The family of a Dallas police officer who was killed when his Crown Victoria squad car exploded after a rear-end crash has settled a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co., the family’s attorney said Wednesday.Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said she could not confirm that an agreement has been reached.
Metzler, 31, died Oct. 23, 2002, of smoke inhalation and burns when his police car was struck by a speeding Jeep Wrangler.
The Crown Victoria’s gas tank exploded shortly after impact.
His parents, Philip and Patricia Metzler of Colorado Springs, Colo., filed a lawsuit accusing Ford of negligence, aggravated assault and malice.
Perry said the end of the lawsuit has brought some relief for Patricia Metzler.
Philip Metzler died of cancer last year.
Perry said Patricia Metzler has been most comforted by Dallas officials’ aggressive efforts to make their police cars safer.
“The city told her they were going to do everything they could to make sure it wasn’t going to happen to another officer,” he said. “She feels they have kept their promise.”
Since Metzler’s death, the city has retrofitted its Crown Victorias with gas-tank shields and converted some of its fleet to run on compressed natural gas.
Officials also plan to install panels that would release a fire suppressant when crushed.
|Ford settles with family of Dallas officer killed in crashPatrick Metzler burned to death two years ago when another vehicle rear-ended his Crown Victoria police cruiser, which then burst into flames.
The Metzler lawsuit was one of several nationwide filed by families of police officers killed in Crown Victoria patrol cars. It does not, however, affect the class action lawsuit against Ford that the City of Dallas is a part of, nor does it end the city’s efforts to get Ford to make substantial changes to the vehicle’s design.
Last year, Metzler’s parents came to town to announce they were suing Ford in the death of their son. The family’s attorney said Tuesday that Ford is settling with the Metzler family; terms were not disclosed.
Former colleagues of Officer Metzler said it brings one part of this tragedy to a close.
“It stops that pain and suffering that they would have gone through if it had gone to trial,” said Sgt. Glenn White of the Dallas Police Association. “They don’t look at it as a victory, they still don’t have a son, no amount of money is going to bring Patrick back … so, you know, I think it’s vindication.”
The city’s fight with Ford, however, is far from over.
“I think they continue to have a problem with the fact that there are cars on the road,” said Dallas city attorney Madeleine Johnson. “There are still dangerous vehicles.”
Nationwide, dozens of Crown Victoria police cars have exploded when rear-ended. Approximately 18 peace officers have been killed.
Ford insists the cars are safe, but Dallas is moving to improve the safety of its Crown Victoria fleet by installing fire packs. On impact, they release a fire suppressant powder to douse flames.
Dallas still expects Ford to pick up the bill, but the car maker says “no.”
“I would like to see if we can get this resolved without going to court,” Johnson said. “We’ll see what happens, but we do intend to continue to pursue that claim.”
Meanwhile, city officials expect the city’s 775 Crown Victorias to be fitted with the packs by the end June.
Ford would not comment on the suit.
The Metzler’s attorney said one thing the family is still free to do is continue to speak out on the safety of the Crown Victorias. In many lawsuits, people settle to simply put the trouble behind them, but he said in this case, the Metzler family said it will continue to speak out and keep their son’s memory alive, until they feel the police cruisers used by so many police officers across the country are safe.
|Natural-gas cars for police get OK
EPA approval means Dallas can convert 175 cruisers, despite officers’ fears about range, speed
The Dallas Morning News By next month, Dallas patrol officers will begin driving natural-gas-powered Ford Crown Victoria patrol cruisers that look like typical, muscular police cars but, police say, perform like low-budget imports. And they hate them. “No officer wants to drive these cars,” said Sgt. Malik Aziz, president of the Texas Peace Officers Association’s Dallas chapter.
|M A R C H|
|Fuel tank fire-suppression panels get OK
DALLAS – The City Council on Wednesday approved buying fire-suppression panels to be installed in each of the city’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co., the cars’ manufacturer, sent the city a letter criticizing its latest actions.
|Council approves retrofitting of police Crown Vics
Ford warns against adding fire panels, cites failures in tests
Ignoring warnings from Ford Motor Co., the Dallas City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to authorize retrofitting its fleet of Ford Crown Victoria police cars with rear-mounted fire panels. The 775 devices will cost up to $271,250 in reserve funds, city records indicate. “If Ford wants to be critical, fine. Let them be critical,” Dallas City Attorney Madeleine Johnson said. “I’m thinking of the safety of police officers.”
|Judge tells Ford to search files in police car suit
A St. Clair County judge ordered Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday to search its files for more information on its Crown Victoria police cars in a suit that claims the cars’ gas tanks tend to rupture in crashes. Circuit Judge Lloyd A. Cueto ordered the search completed in 30 days and added that Ford must provide a sworn statement detailing what was done.
Court Finds Ford CVPI Advertising Deceptive and Misleading
Ford engineers admit in deposition that Ford had never conducted “fuel system integrity” testing on production vehicles
|Judge Orders Ford To Conduct Crash Tests On Crown Victoria
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. (F) is being ordered to conduct crash tests on plastic safety packs the company has offered for Crown Victoria police cars to protect gas tanks from rupturing in high-speed rear-impact crashes. Last Thursday Illinois Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto ordered the automaker to conduct a 75-mph crash test on the trunk pack by May 15, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.
|Police union concerned about cars’ safety
As the Portland Police Bureau recalls the .45-caliber Glock pistol from use, it’s also grappling with how to ensure that its fleet of 300 Crown Victoria patrol cars and the 70 new models it’s seeking to buy are safe for officers.
|Ford ordered to retest Crown Vic safety devices
A judge has ordered Ford Motor Co. to retest a safety device for Crown Victoria police cars and said the automaker was “deceptive” in a brochure condemning the city of Dallas’ tests on the same equipment.
|Ford to appeal judge’s crash test order, sanctions
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co. plans to appeal an Illinois state judge’s decision to order a new crash test to determine how well a trunk liner prevents fuel leaks during police car crashes, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. Judge Lloyd Cueto, presiding over an Illinois class action involving Ford Crown Victoria cars used by police departments across the United States, also found that Ford’s mailing of a brochure touting the liner’s effectiveness and questioning tests conducted by the city of Dallas that found otherwise was deceptive. “Ford’s actions were not inadvertent,” Cueto said in an order entered on March 11. “This was not a mistake, but rather a deliberate act by Ford Motor Company.”
|F E B R U A R Y|
|Uneasy is the officer who drives the Crown?
The Irving City Council must have total confidence in Ford’s Crown Victoria automobile. The council recently voted unanimously to spend $420,000 to buy 20 more of them for city police officers. We wish we felt the same level of assurance about the troubled cars, which have been criticized as safety hazards by police departments around the nation.
|Police chiefs gather in Dallas
About 45 police chiefs from major cities in the United States and Canada will meet in Dallas today to discuss homeland security, federal funding and safety concerns about the Ford Crown Victoria patrol car.
|Driver crashes into two police cars
Vehicles retrofitted with protective gas tank shields
DALLAS—Richardson police arrested an alleged drunk driver Friday morning after the car he was driving rear-ended a police cruiser in the northbound lanes of North Central Expressway. Officers said they were blocking off the scene of a separate wreck between Arapaho and Belt Line roads around 2:15 a.m. when the driver of a pickup truck glanced off one squad car then smashed into the Ford Crown Victoria patrol car.
|Ford won’t reimburse Crown Victoria repair
Ford Motor Co. of Detroit Friday declined to pay for the fire suppression system the City of Dallas wants to install on its 775 Crown Victoria police cars. Dallas is one of several cities and counties suing the automaker over the safety of its Crown Victoria police cars, the Detroit Free Press reported.
|J A N U A R Y|
|Phila. joins suit over safety of police cars
After complaints of explosions in rear-end impacts, Ford covers one upgrade but charges for another.
Philadelphia joins a growing list of cities trying to force Ford Motor Co. to improve the safety of the automaker’s ubiquitous Crown Victoria police car. The city filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court last week, arguing that Ford should have to pay any future costs to upgrade the safety of the city’s fleet of 700 Crown Victoria police cars.
|Philadelphia latest to sue Ford over police cars
DETROIT, Jan 22 (Reuters) – The city of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Ford Motor Co. demanding that the automaker fix its Crown Victoria police cars, which have been involved in the deaths of at least 16 U.S. police officers. Philadelphia, joining lawsuits against Ford filed in at least eight other states, said taxpayers should not have to pay to improve the safety of the police cars, which are used by about 85 percent of U.S. police departments.