Chrysler Shells Out Millions for "Killer Minivan"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
chrysler shells out millions for killer minivan

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Chrysler has paid an undisclosed amount of money to the Escobar family of Cobb County, Georgia. On June 6, 2006, Gabriel Escobar crushed his brother to death when he shifted the family's 1997 Plymouth Voyager out of park. Although the story claims the death could have prevented by a $9 brake shift interlock– which Chrysler didn't fit to its vehicles until 2001– it's also true that the minivan wouldn't have moved if the Escobar's babysitter hadn't let young Ian "escape" from the house and Mrs. Escobar hadn't left four-year-old Gabriel Escobar unsupervised in the minivan– with the keys in the ignition. Escobar's lawyer claims there have been 23 similar deaths nationwide, including a recent tragedy in Connecticut. In that accident, a toddler knocked a 1999 Grand Voyager out of park, sending it into a lake, drowning four.

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4 of 13 comments
  • Qwerty Qwerty on Jul 12, 2007

    As long as we are posting links about the McDonald's coffee case, how about a page of the real facts instead of the legal industry's spin control.

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Jul 13, 2007

    I think my 91 Accord had that feature because they or some other auto company had been sued. If this feature had been around for some time and if it is known to prevent these kind of accidents which do happen then why didn't Chrsyler add the stupid part back in the day.

  • Paradigm_shift Paradigm_shift on Jul 13, 2007

    Does no one in this country use a parking brake? A properly applied parking brake would have held the minivan in place even in drive. I constantly see people slamming their cars into P and walking away, many times with the car on a hill or bouncing back and forth because they didn't bother to come to a full stop before slamming it into P. How did they win this case without using a the supplied parking brake?

  • Brownie Brownie on Jul 13, 2007

    Let me call everyone's attention to the phrase "undisclosed amount of money". Yes, it's a ridiculous claim, but I'm guessing they settled for far less than the cost of mounting a defense in a case like this.