DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fabrice Vincent of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Bradly Holmes of the law firm Bradly Holmes, P.C., of Englewood, Colorado, announced that Gil Sanders of Arvada, Colorado, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Chrysler Group, LLC, for the wrongful death of his beloved wife of twenty-two years Karen “Kari” Sanders, age 54, allegedly due to a known defect in thousands of Dodge pickup trucks that Chrysler has refused to recall and fix.
On the morning of March 13, 2013, Ms. Sanders started the V8 engine of her 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck, which was parked inside the two-car garage at her residence. She then exited the vehicle, leaving the driver’s front door open, and walked to the rear of the pickup. Suddenly and without warning, the complaint alleges, the Dodge Ram self-shifted into powered reverse and began moving rearward.
The open driver’s door of the moving pickup slammed Mrs. Sanders into and against the garage door frame’s steel rails, pinning her helplessly.
When Mrs. Sanders was found hours later by her daughter, she was deceased. The force of the still-running truck held her body in a vertical position against the steel rails and the pickup’s open door fractured ribs in her chest. An autopsy revealed Mrs. Sanders could not breathe after being pinned against the steel rails and thereafter suffocated to death.
“Kari was a caring, loving, and very special mother and wife,” stated Mr. Sanders. “Her smile was contagious and she could light up any room with her sense of humor. She is and always will be deeply missed. Chrysler needs to be held accountable for Kari never again being a part of our lives and needs to take steps to put the safety of its customers first and foremost.”
“The 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and other Chrysler vehicles contain a transmission defect, known as the park-to-reverse defect, that has killed and maimed adults and children across the country, the complaint charges,” stated attorney Fabrice Vincent. “Even though Chrysler has known of this defect for years, it has failed to recall and repair all vehicles with the park to reverse defect, including the V8 2003 Dodge Ram that crushed Mrs. Sanders.”
The Park-To-Reverse Transmission Defect Explained
The park to reverse defect, also referred to as “false park,” is a flaw in a vehicle’s transmission in which it is possible for the driver unknowingly to place the transmission shift selector into a position between park and reverse during normal vehicle operations.
When a vehicle is in false park, it appears to the driver that the vehicle is in park. However, the transmission is neither fully in park nor in reverse. Instead, it is in an unstable position between the two gears.
In this unstable position, the vehicle can self-shift into reverse. When the vehicle is running, this will cause the vehicle unexpectedly to move backwards under power. If the driver exits the vehicle with the engine running (to check for mail, retrieve an item, lock a house door, etc.), a vehicle in false park can shift into powered reverse and run over the driver or a bystander.
In recognition of the false park defect in its vehicles, Chrysler in March 2006 recalled over 250,000 model year 2003 through 2005 Dodge pickup trucks to install “Out-of-Park” alarms. The Out-of-Park alarm sounds the vehicles’ car horn in a pulsating manner and flashes all lights to warn drivers/occupants of a false park situation.
However, Chrysler only recalled diesel and V 10 engine equipped versions of the 2003-2005 model year Dodge Ram pickup trucks. The complaint charges that Chrysler ignored in its recall thousands of vehicles with the same defect, including the 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck with a V-8 engine that killed Mrs. Sanders.
“Chrysler needs to act as a responsible corporate citizen and immediately recall and actually fix all of its vehicles with the false park transmission defect,” stated attorney Bradly Holmes.