Escape/Tribute Sudden Acceleration
Federal investigators end probe into stuck throttles in Ford Escapes after ABC15 Investigation – 2/28/13
After seven months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed its investigation into a safety defect and recall involving stuck throttles in 2001-2004 model year Ford Escapes and 2001-2008 Mazda Tributes.
Despite three reported deaths related to the defect and pressure from auto safety advocates, the agency is not pursuing any civil fines against the automakers for failing to recall the SUVs years earlier.
On August 8, 2005 Marta Baier made a decision that ended her life. Her 2003 Ford Escape accelerated out of control, and, unable to stop it, she jumped out, hitting her head on the pavement. She died less than an hour later in a Missouri hospital.
Two summers later, a 43 year-old mother died outside of Philadelphia, PA when her 2004 Ford Escape accelerated out of control, flipped and hit a school bus.
Ford settled lawsuits in both of these cases without admitting liability – in one case, paying the victim’s family and their attorney more than $1 million, according to court records.
Tammy Graham drove her 2001 Ford Escape for 11 years; now, it sits in the back lot of an auto shop near her home in Baytown, TX, outside of Houston.
The front bumper is crushed in, the airbags deployed and goldfish are still scattered in the back where her son sat before the SUV accelerated out of control and crashed less than two months ago.
“We had four vehicles in the garage,” she said, “all Fords.”
Graham’s husband, James, races Fords. Their 9-year-old son Hunter collects them.
“We were huge Ford fans,” she said.
A NEARLY DEADLY CRASH