A Clinton County woman claims her deceased husband's purchase of a 2004 Ford Freestar ultimately led to his untimely death after she says it failed to adequately function in an accident.

Frances A. Therion filed a lawsuit March 11 in Madison County Circuit Court against Ford Motor Company and Wiegman Motor Company.

Frances Therion claims her deceased husband, Joseph W. Therion, drove the Ford Freestar north on Illinois Route 160 at its intersection with Ellis Road in Helvetia on Dec. 24, 2008, when another vehicle failed to stop and struck the Ford.

"Plaintiff's decedent's vehicle then spun out of control and ultimately rolled over," the suit states. "At the time of the accident, Plaintiff's decedent was properly seated and wearing his 3-point seat belt."

Despite his safety measures, Joseph Therion sustained severe personal injuries, causing him to have his spleen removed and leaving him in a coma, according to the complaint.

Because of her husband's accident and subsequent death, Frances Therion incurred medical costs and suffered pecuniary losses, the complaint says.

Frances Therion blames Ford for causing her husband's death, saying the company improperly designed and manufactured the Freestar; failed to install side head, side curtain or torso airbags in the Freestar; failed to provide adequate restraint in the vehicle; and failed to provide adequate roof crush strength.

She also names Wiegman Motor Company as a defendant. Joseph Therion purchased the vehicle from Wiegman on Aug. 31, 2005. At the time he purchased the vehicle, it was in a defective condition, according to the complaint.

In her 16-count suit, Frances Therion seeks a judgment of more than $800,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Michael R. Bilbrey and Michael V. Oltmann of the Law Offices of Michael R. Bilbrey in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-268.

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