Family: Man killed in crash never got air bag recall notice

Sep 23, 2022, 10:17 AM | Updated: 12:15 pm
This undated family photo shows Hayden Jones Jr. The 23-year-old Navy officer was found dead at the...

This undated family photo shows Hayden Jones Jr. The 23-year-old Navy officer was found dead at the wheel by Florida Highway Patrol troopers in July 2022, in Pensacola. A trooper later messaged the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that injuries were due to the deployment of an air bag in the 2006 Ford Ranger pickup in the accident. (Jones Family via AP)

(Jones Family via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — When Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrived at a crash scene in the Panhandle this summer, they found a 23-year-old Navy officer dead at the wheel with neck wounds that initially looked like a possible shooting.

A trooper later messaged the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that injuries were from the deployment of an air bag in the 2006 Ford Ranger pickup in the July accident in Pensacola.

Though the NHTSA is investigating and hasn’t made a final determination yet, the family of Hayden Jones Jr. says there’s ample evidence the death was caused by an exploding Takata air bag. It would be the 20th such death in the United States — and would come six years after the start of a recall of that vehicle model.

The NHTSA recall notices for the 2006 Ford Ranger underline the urgency, saying owners shouldn’t drive these vehicles “unless you are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired.”

Ford says it notified the vehicle owner of the recall — even going to the owner’s home to try to schedule repairs — but the Jones family says it never received any recall notice from the manufacturer and has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Cases like this, in which needed repairs never happen, show the system is broken, said William Wallace, safety advocate for Consumer Reports. He said the recall system is weak in part because it relies heavily on owners keeping up to date with recall notices.

Some states, such as New York, require notices of pending recalls to be given to car owners as part of annual vehicle inspections. Florida does not require any annual inspections.

Hayden Jones Sr. originally bought the vehicle in Tennessee from Dobbs Ford of Memphis, Inc., according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against Ford, the dealership — which is now AutoNation Ford Wolfchase — and the owner and driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash.

The elder Jones now lives in Brandon, Mississippi, and the younger Jones was using the vehicle in Florida, where he was stationed in Pensacola.

Ford spokesman Said Deep told The Associated Press last month that the company had notified the owner of the recall and went to the house, but he did not confirm the address visited. Ford declined further comment after the lawsuit was filed.

Orlando-based attorney Andrew Parker Felix said that no one in the Jones family was visited by Ford representatives nor received recall notices. The Jones family declined to comment, except through Felix.

“These things are literally the stuff of nightmares,” Felix said. “It is an airbag that shoots metal at you.”

Felix’s firm, Morgan & Morgan, has prosecuted more than 100 individual Takata air bag claims. The firm contends that the dealer in Tennessee “was allegedly notified of Ford’s safety recall of the 2006 Ranger at least 12 times between 2018 and 2020, but also did nothing to warn Mr. Jones about his vehicle’s deadly airbag.”

Changes of address can sometimes complicate recalls, said Gabe Knight, another safety advocate for Consumer Reports.

“Moving introduces a potential break in the ability of the automaker to reach car owners,” Knight said. “Unless the owner notifies the automaker (which isn’t likely), then the automaker is dependent on the address they have on file and registration records, which can significantly lag behind moves.”

Troopers who arrived at the scene on July 7 found Jones dead of neck wounds and shrapnel in the truck’s floorboards. The other driver walked away from the minor collision with no injuries, according to the accident report.

“I think we initially began our investigation as a possible homicide by gunfire because we weren’t sure,” Lt. Jason King of the Highway Patrol told news outlets at the time. The Highway Patrol, when contacted by the AP, would give no further details and referred the matter to the NHTSA.

A document posted on the NHTSA’s database said a Florida Highway Patrol trooper filed a report with the agency saying that the driver suffered fatal injuries “due to the driver’s side air bag deployment.”

At least 28 deaths worldwide have been attributed to Takata air bags.

The company used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture and repeated high temperatures — particularly a problem in warmer, more humid climates. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel through the passenger compartment.

About 67 million vehicles with Takata air bags in the United States have been subject to a recall, according to the NHTSA.

The last previous death caused by a Takata air bag occurred in a Honda in Lancaster County, South Carolina, in January 2021.

___

AP auto writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Labour conference starts with focus on ‘immoral’ tax cuts

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party opened its annual conference Sunday, with leaders attacking the “immoral” tax-cutting of the new Conservative government. The event, this year taking place in the northern city of Liverpool, kicked off two days after the U.K government, under new Prime Minister Liz Truss, said it would scrap a 45% […]
5 hours ago
Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against a partial mobilization in Moscow, Ru...
Associated Press

Winter’s approach sets clock ticking for Ukraine, Russia

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The onset of autumnal weather, with rains making fields too muddy for tanks, is beginning to cloud Ukraine’s efforts to take back more Russian-held territory before winter freezes the battlefields, a Washington-based think tank said Sunday. Russia, meanwhile, pressed on with its call-up of hundreds of thousands of men to throw […]
5 hours ago
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, s...
Associated Press

German leader continues Gulf tour with stops in UAE, Qatar

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz planted a tree at a mangrove park in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, a token nod to environmentalism during a two-day visit to the Gulf region focused mainly on securing new fossil fuel supplies and forging fresh alliances against Russia. Germany is trying to wean itself off […]
5 hours ago
A baker stacks loaves of Egyptian traditional "baladi" flatbread outside a bakery, in the Old Cairo...
Associated Press

Poverty and inflation: Egypt’s economy hit by global turmoil

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Stores are selling winter clothes from last season in the middle of summer. Repair shops lack spare parts for appliances. There’s a waiting list to buy a new car. Egypt, a country of more than 103 million people, is running low on foreign currency needed to buy essentials like […]
1 day ago
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical...
Associated Press

Florida monitors a growing Tropical Storm Ian in Caribbean

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities and residents in Florida were keeping a cautious eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it rumbled through the Caribbean on Sunday, expected to continue gaining strength and become a major hurricane in the coming days on a forecast track toward the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency […]
1 day ago
A Carolina dog waits for his owner to vote at a polling station in Rome, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. It...
Associated Press

Italians vote in election that could take far-right to power

ROME (AP) — Italians voted Sunday in an election that could move the country’s politics sharply toward the right during a critical time for Europe, with war in Ukraine fueling skyrocketing energy bills and testing the West’s resolve to stand united against Russian aggression. Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500GMT) and by noon turnout was […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Family: Man killed in crash never got air bag recall notice