An amended complaint filed in the Circuit Court for Sullivan County in Bristol, Tennessee alleges a defective guardrail system designed by Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and manufactured by Trinity Industries, Inc. resulted in the catastrophic death of a Tennessee EMT firefighter.
On December 17, 2008, Sabrena Carrier was driving to work in Sullivan County, Tennessee when she crashed into the end terminal of a guardrail system. The guardrail entered the passenger compartment, impaled her by striking her torso and causing her fatal injuries. The product liability litigation alleges that the defective design of the end terminal guardrail system prevented it from acting as a buffer and reducing the impact of the crash. Instead the guardrail penetrated the vehicle resulting in a tragic wrongful death.
The original production of the ET-Plus guardrail end terminal was designed by TTI and manufactured by Trinity Highway and Trinity Industries from 1999 to 2004. Through approximately 2004, the ET-Plus was a federally accepted, energy absorbing end terminal, approved by primary regulatory and industry authorities, including the Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. This approval was based, in part, on the design specifications provided to these authorities by the Texas Transportation Institute and/or Trinity Industries.
However, in 2005, TTI, Trinity Highway and Trinity Industries changed the design and production of the ET-PLUS guardrail end terminal. In essence, the current design and production of the ET-Plus guardrail end terminal is different than the original tested and FHWA approved model. The altered design of the end terminal was not tested nor submitted for safety certification. The litigation alleges that this unauthorized model is not crashworthy and is unsafe for the motoring public and may be a contributing factor to catastrophic injuries in motor vehicle accidents.
The plaintiffs are represented by Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, P.C. and Law Offices of Wayne Culbertson.
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