Dodge Park to Reverse Lawsuit – Sad Story
An Arvada, Colorado man is suing Chrysler over a “park to reverse” issue that he says contributed to the death of his wife. This is just a sad story all around.
Gil Sanders says that his 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 was negligent in causing the death of his wife, according to a Denver Post story.
He says the truck has a flaw in the transmission that causes the vehicle to “self-shift into a powered reverse.” This flaw, Sanders claims, caused the gruesome death of his wife, 54-year-old Karen “Kari” Sanders.
The Denver Post says:
The suit alleges that on March 13, Kari Sanders started the V8 engine of their Dodge Ram, which was parked in the two-car garage at their home outside of Arvada.
Kari Sanders exited the vehicle — most likely to run water in a small plastic swimming pool for a family of pet ducks — and left the driver’s front door open and walked to the rear of the truck.
Without warning, the Dodge Ram self-shifted into powered reverse and began moving backward, according to the lawsuit.
The open driver’s door of the moving pickup pinned Kari Sanders against the steel rails of the garage door.
When Kari Sanders was found hours later by her daughter, she was dead. The force of the still-running truck held her body in a vertical position against the garage door frame, and the pickup door fractured her ribs.
The Jefferson County coroner declared she died of “positional asphyxiation,” the suit said.
“I cannot imagine the pain she went through,” said Gil Sanders. “I can’t imagine finding her like that.”
The park-to-reverse defect, also known as a “false park,” is an apparent flaw in the transmission. In doing a quick Google search, it seems the issue is quite widespread and the NHTSA opened an investigation into Dodge heavy duty trucks with this transmission issue. That investigation lead to a 2006 recall of 250,000 2003-2005 model year, diesel and V10 heavy duty trucks. Dodge installed a “out-of-park” alarm as part of that recall. When the vehicle slipped into this “false park” (a unsustainable gearing spot in the transmission), the truck is supposed to alert the owner by having the horn honk and lights flash. Sadly, the 2003 Ram 2500 wasn’t part of that recall.
Since that recall, there have been quite few lawsuits with large awards to the plaintiffs including a L.A. dock worker who was awarded $55.2 million, including $50 million in punitive damages.
Chrysler was quoted as saying:
“This incident was caused by the inattentiveness on the part of Mrs. Sanders, who exited the vehicle while it was in reverse gear, and not by any defect in the 2003 Dodge Ram,” Palese said in an e-mail. “Indeed, the 2003 Dodge Ram meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and has an excellent safety record.”
Sanders says that Chrysler knew it was flawed and ignored the problem.
“This is a question of ethics,” Gil Sanders said in the Denver Post interview. “They should be held accountable all the way down the line.”
Editor’s note: This is certainly a sad story and while it may seem we are continually attacking Chrysler products on this site, this story is more about awareness and sharing information than an attack. We certainly hope the best for Mr. Sanders.
Filed Under: Auto News