Several police officers throughout the country have been harmed and even killed due to a silent, but deadly defect in their Ford Explorers. An officer in Newport Beach crashed his vehicle into a tree. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson died when Garner’s SUV sped off the road in Modesto and crashed. And in Austin, a police officer fell ill while driving his Explorer and had to be hospitalized. Why are these defective vehicles hurting cops?What kind of defect could have caused these three accidents?
NHTSA Investigating Ford Explorers for Deadly Gas Leaks
Last July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into 2011-2015 Ford Explorers. This happened after 154 reports of exhaust and other odors entering the cabin. One of the components of exhaust is carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness and even death. The organization said that the issue most frequently occurs when the SUV is in full throttle, as in climbing steep roads or merging onto freeway ramps. The issue also pops up when air conditioning is on recirculation mode.
The Newport Beach officer believes that carbon monoxide caused him to lose consciousness while driving. This led him to cross a center median and several lanes of traffic before hitting a tree. He has filed a lawsuit against Ford. Carbon monoxide tests were part of the investigation into the deaths of Garner and Johnson. And in Austin, police have bought carbon monoxide detectors for all their Explorers.