Tire makers blamed for auto death

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 3, 2007, 5:18am

Celestine Taylor filed suit against Hercules Tire and Rubber and Cooper Tire and Rubber in federal court Dec. 18, claiming Hercules Ultra Touring TR brand tires were not reasonably safe in design which caused her to lose control of her vehicle and crash.

According to the complaint, Taylor's daughter, who was seated in the front, died in a crash on I-55 in Madison County on July 3, 2005. Her granddaughter, seated in the rear seat, was seriously injured.

Taylor was driving a 1999 Mustang at the time of the accident, the complaint states.

She claims the tires had the propensity for the tread to detach from the remainder of the tire causing the vehicle on which it was installed to skid and/or roll-over and/or the operator to lose control of the vehicle at normal highway speeds. She also claimed the tires did not have an adequate warning as to the unreasonably dangerous condition of the tires.

"Plaintiff did not know of the dangerous condition of the Hercules Ultra Touring TR brand tires," the complaint states.

Taylor claims she suffered severe and permanent injuries to the nerves, muscles and soft tissues of her head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, and legs, fractures to multiple ribs, multiple transverse process lumbar fractures, and right pelvic fracture and has been required to undergo emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, diagnostic treatments and physical and occupational therapy.

She also claims she has suffered anxiety, exacerbation of depression, and emotional distress from witnessing her daughter's death and has been unable to sleep at night due to the discomfort she experiences and the inability to place herself in a position comfortable for sleeping.

Taylor claims her daughter, Sherry Burnes, suffered severe personal injuries including massive head trauma, pain and suffering after the crash but before death, and death soon after the crash.

Represented by James Parrot of St. Louis, Taylor is seeking damages in excess of $500,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Michael Reagan.

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