A family of four was killed — and two others were hospitalized — on Father’s Day when a faulty tire caused an SUV rollover crash on Highway 99 near Bakersfield.
• A family of six was traveling home to Modesto on Father’s Day when the tread separated from the left rear tire on their SUV.
• The SUV veered out of control, rolled over, and went off of the highway.
• Four people died at the scene. The other two were hospitalized with serious injuries.
California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez said 44-year-old Jose Castillo of Medesto was driving a 2001 Ford Excursion SUV northbound on Highway 99 near Pond Road when the accident happened.
Castillo and five other family members — 65-year-old Lino Castillo, 63-year-old Estella Castillo, 38-year-old Yolanda Castillo, 17-year-old Marcos Castillo, and 11-year-old Juan Castillo — were traveling home from Northridge.
The vehicle was traveling through a 70 mph zone between Bakersfield and Modesto, near Pond Road, when the tread separated from a faulty left rear tire, CHP Officer Kirk Arnold told the Fresno Bee. The SUV veered out control, ran off the road, and overturned, Arnold said.
Estella Castillo, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car, Rodriguez said. She died at the scene. Juan, Lino, and Yolanda Castillo were wearing seatbelts, but they too died at the scene.
Jose and Marcos Castillo suffered what appeared to be moderate injuries, according to CHP Officer Rodriguez. They were transported to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. Specific information about the nature of their injuries and their conditions was not immediately known.
Officer Rodriguez said extreme heat also may have been a contributing factor in the accident. The air temperature was at least 108 degrees, and the asphalt on Highway 99 would have been much hotter, he said.
Rodriguez also suggested that the vehicle may have been “overloaded” because there were six occupants and their luggage. However, the 3.4-ton SUV, which is larger than a Chevrolet Suburban, was designed for nine passengers plus a full cargo load, according to its specifications.
Dangers of Defective Tires
More than 10,000 injuries and almost 500 deaths are caused by tire failures each year. One of the most common tire defects associated with these accidents is tread separation. The tread is what grips the road. When a tire is defective and the tread separates from it at freeway speed, it is difficult if not impossible for a driver to control the vehicle. Deadly accidents — including rollovers — can occur as a result. Ford has had many problems with tire tread separation causing rollovers on its pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles.
Find Out the Real Age of Your “New” Tires
One important factor in the potential for tread separation in faulty tires is their age — how long it has been since the tire was manufactured. Even tires that are never used become old and dry over time, particularly in warm climates. This can lead to cracking, greater stress on the tire, and tread separation — “catastrophic failure.”
Many consumer safety advocates suggest that tires may not be safe after six years, regardless of how few miles they have been driven. Yet, according to an ABC 20/20 News report, some retailers, such as Sears, sell new tires that are up to 12 years old. Manufacturers are required to include that information in the Tire Identification Number (often just called the serial number) on at least one sidewall of every tire. The number starts with the letters “DOT” (see photo below).
All tires manufactured in the U.S. since 2000 list the week and year as the last four digits of the identification number. In the case of the photo above, the digits are “5107,” which refers to the 51st week of 2007.
Bakersfield SUV Rollover Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented SUV rollover accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.
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