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Safety Warnings Ignored Leading to Death in Ford Windstar

The car company Ford is being criticized for slow efforts to recall a known dangerous component on its Windstar vehicle. Many say the delay is responsible for deadly car accidents.

Earlier this month the New York Times profiled the issue around the eventual recall of 619,000 Ford Windstars made between 1998 and 2003. The problem stemmed from rusty rear axles that were increasingly found to break prematurely-causing car accidents across many Midwest states, including Illinois.

Earlier this year Ford insisted that no recall was necessary because the problem was rare and even when it did occur the driver retained control of the vehicle. But that tune changed following a National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration investigation into the axle problem. The NHTSA itself has been criticized for its slow action, as the investigation did not begin until over 200 complaints had been filed by consumers whose vehicles had malfunctioned.

For some consumers the warnings were too little too late. A 28-year old father of two was on his way to pick up his two daughters when the rear axle broke on his Windstar. He lost control of the vehicle, causing a car crash that killed him. A recall notice issue by Ford arrived three days after his death.

Since that victim’s death, the NHTSA has issued an urgent warning to all consumers to get the dangerous axle replaced on these vehicles as soon as possible. The agency is continuing an investigation into the rusting front subframes that may cause right front suspension failure.

All Illinois drivers should take quick action if they own a Ford Windstar made between 1998 and 2003. Our Chicago car accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti remain committed to helping all those injured by the negligence of others on the road. Whether the accident was caused by poor driving or by mistakes made by car manufacturers, we stand ready to fight for the legal rights of the victims.

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