April 30, 2010
A federal jury on Tuesday found General Motors at fault in a rollover accident that killed a 14-year-old boy, awarding his parents $3.5 million following a two-week trial.
Bonnie Reynolds, now 48, was at the wheel of a 1995 Chevy Blazer on June 3, 2002. She and her son, Matthew, were riding south on Interstate 985 in Gainesville, Ga., when a drunk driver veered off the highway and lost control attempting to re-enter the highway and spun into the Reynolds’ SUV, according to a police report.
The Blazer then began to spin, rolling over and ejecting Matthew, who was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died the following day, according to Henry G. Garrard III, who represented the mother and her husband, Garland Reynolds. Other attorneys for the plaintiffs were Andrew J. Hill III of Athens’ Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, and Woody Wilner and Aaron Metcalf of Jacksonville, Fla.
“Mrs. Reynolds was injured herself, and she still has a few problems,” said Garrard. “But the jury recognized the tragedy of having to watch her son die before her eyes. … the verdict speaks volumes in terms of what happened to her, and to GM’s faulty design of these vehicles.”
The Blazer was known to have a tendency to roll before 1995, he said, and was re-engineered that year.
“But the redesign did nothing to improve its stability,” he said. “Our position is that the vehicle’s track was too narrow for its height. In this case, the vehicle did not even leave the roadway; it was knocked down the roadway and rolled multiple times.”
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