Mom sues ATV manufacturer Yamaha and owners over explosion

Andrea Dearden Sep. 8, 2010, 9:49am

A Minnesota woman is suing a Coulterville couple and Yamaha after an ATV gas tank explosion burned her son.

Faith Ahlers of Oak Grove, Minn., filed the complaint against Sam White and Patty Loos on Aug. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Alhers says her son, Jordan Kepmfer, was a riding an ATV owned by White and Loos on Aug. 10 when it exploded. Kepmfer suffered severe burns to his entire body, causing him to be permanently disfigured, according to the complaint. Alhers says heat from the four-wheeler's engine boiled gas inside the tank which raised the pressure in the tank, ultimately causing it to explode.

Alhers argues White and Loos were negligent for allowing a minor to the ride the ATV. She says they failed to warn that the gas tank may explode or make any modifications to avoid it happening, despite being aware of the danger.

Also named in the lawsuit are Yamaha Motor Corp. USA and Yamaha Motor Co. of Japan.

Alhers claims that, prior to the explosion that injured her son, Yamaha had begun a "slow recall" to replace gas tank caps and other components to prevent a tank explosion. She says the company was negligent for failing to conduct a proper recall or warn ATV owners to stop riding the vehicles until the problem could be corrected.

Alhers is suing for damages in excess of $50,000 from each of the four defendants.

Attorney James R. Williams of Belleville is representing Ahlers.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 10-L-442

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