Honda: Girl's Death Prompted Recall

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Airbags > Honda

Ashley Parham, 18, Killed In Crash At School

2/11/10

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An automaker has confirmed to Eyewitness News 5 that the death of a local girl is the reason for the company's latest recall.
Ashley Parham, 18, was killed in May 2009 in what looked like a minor wreck in the parking lot of Carl Albert High School. Her Honda Accord's airbag exploded, sending metal fragments into her body.
Honda representatives told Eyewitness News 5 that inside each airbag is something called a propellant. It produces the gas that fills up the airbag.
In some Honda cars, such as Ashley's, the propellant wasn't installed properly, automaker representatives said, causing the airbag to explode.
Paramedics tried to save Parham, flying her to a local hospital just minutes after her crash. However, she bled to death.
The state medical examiner said that when Parham's airbag exploded inside her silver Honda, it sent pieces of the steering wheel flying into the air.
"A piece of metal punctured this young lady in her chest and her neck, and the neck injury is what caused her death," said medical examiner spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard.
Honda officials confirmed to Eyewitness News 5 that the Parham incident is what led to the national recall. In a statement released by the company, officials said they are recalling close to 400,000 2001 and 2002 Hondas and Acuras.
Besides Parham's death, there have been 12 injuries due to faulty airbags.
The Parham family did sue Honda. Court documents indicate that the family settled the case for $5,000 with the money to go to Parham's younger brother. He was in the car and witnessed his sister's death.
Eyewitness News 5 tried to talk with the Parham family, but the family declined comment.