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Norfolk, VA Car Fire Leaves One Dead, Two in Hospital

A late-night car fire on July 3, 2011, left a driver dead and landed two passengers in a local hospital. According to the Virginian-Pilot, a Chevrolet Traverse somehow malfunctioned while traveling eastbound on Interstate 64, near Little Creek Road. The car caught fire, but passenger Michelle Westhler was able to escape. A passerby stopped and helped free a 4-year-old from a child-restraint seat in the back of the car. Local authorities report that the male driver was unable to escape the front seat and died.

On a holiday weekend like this one, it's hard to imagine such a horrific tragedy happening. Our thoughts are with the victims and their family. The passengers were truly lucky to have a rescuer in the form of a passerby. Not all accident victims can be so lucky.

The reason for the SUV's malfunction isn't readily apparent, but car fires are more common than you might think. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one in four fire department responses is to a vehicle fire. Fires started as a result of an accident are the most frequent cause of car crash deaths. Most car fires are caused by mechanical failure or malfunction. In a case like this one, there was little the driver or passengers could do to prevent the fire from starting. It just goes to show that you never really know what could happen on the road.

As Virginia Personal Injury lawyers, we have experience with victims of product defects and a defect or faulty maintenance could cause a car fire. To learn more about how poorly designed and unsafe consumer goods cause injuries and deaths, check out this article.


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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