Years of lawsuits and complaints raise new questions about Ford Escape recall
The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
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.
But it wasn’t until 17 year-old Saige Bloom’s 2002 Ford Escape flipped and crashed in Payson, AZ in January of this year that Ford publicly acknowledged the discovery of an acceleration problem in these model year Escapes. Bloom was killed after being thrown from the SUV.
Last month, after the government opened an investigation , Ford recalled more than 500,000 of the Escapes , model years 2001-2004, and Mazda recalled more than 200,000 2001-2008 Tributes , its sister SUV.
In the chronology of events leading up to the recall, Ford describes an incident in “late January or early February 2012” in which it was alleged that the throttle stuck open on a 2002 model year Ford Escape.” The automaker had the opportunity to inspect the vehicle in June of this year, it said, ultimately leading to the massive recall.