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Relatives sue Chrysler after death of Houston couple

Relatives caring for three orphaned children are pursuing a lawsuit against Chrysler after a tragic accident took the lives of their young parents. The federal lawsuit names Chrysler and the other driver in the collision as defendants in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas earlier this month.

According to the complaint, design flaws in the couple's 2003 Chrysler Town & Country minivan contributed to their deaths and the paraplegia of their young sons, aged 8 and 9. Their other daughter, who was 6 years old at the time of the accident, was in a booster seat and survived the collision on a two-lane highway in West Texas last summer.

The victims' family asserts that if the minivan had been properly designed, the couple would have survived the accident and the children would not have suffered the debilitating injuries that have confined them to wheelchairs. The lawsuit alleges that the minivan lacked an adequately designed "safety cage," a rigid steel structure intended to protect occupants in a collision. According to the complaint, the front end of the vehicle did not have proper "crush zones" to absorb the impact of the wreck. The lawsuit also alleges that defects in seat belts and seat backs were to blame for the boys' serious internal and spinal cord injuries.

The driver of a 2003 Toyota 4Runner was also named as a defendant after he swerved into oncoming traffic, according to authorities. The defendant's 28 year old wife also died in the accident. According to reports, he was distracted and reaching in the backseat of the car at the time of the accident.

This was a tragic accident that drew national media attention and celebrity support. The three orphaned children were sent to live with their aunt and uncle, who filed the lawsuit on their behalf.

Source: Chron.com, "Relatives of Berry family sue Chrysler, driver in wreck that killed parents," Susan Carroll, May 14, 2012.

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