Suit blames Chrysler for fatalities in minivan crash

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 21, 2012, 6:49pm

HOUSTON - A two-vehicle accident in West Texas last year which killed a Houston couple and left their three children paralyzed has resulted in a federal lawsuit.

The surviving relatives of Joshua and Robin Berry are suing automaker Chrysler and Arizona resident Mike Scott Doyle in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

According to court papers filed May 14, Chrysler failed to properly design and manufacture the Berry family's 2003 Town & Country minivan in a way that would have prevented the decedents' deaths on July 2, 2011.

Meanwhile, Doyle, who resides in Phoenix, is blamed for causing the fatal wreck in question which occurred near Fort Stockton.

The couple, along with their two sons and daughter, were returning home to Houston from a vacation in Colorado when the subject collision took place along U.S. 285 South.

Robin Berry was at the wheel and Joshua Berry was in the front seat while the girl was seated behind her mother and the boys behind their father and one another.

Each of the family members was wearing a seat belt with the youngest child in a booster seat.

The original petition explains that the accident occurred when Doyle, who was traveling with his wife and infant daughter, "became distracted and took his eyes off the highway," causing his 2003 Toyota 4Runner to veer out of its lane and toward the Berry vehicle.

It further states that Robin Berry attempted to steer over to the right shoulder of the road, but was unable to avoid the 4Runner.

Robin Berry perished before she could be removed from the minivan while Joshua Berry succumbed to his injuries while emergency responders were tending to him.

The 32-page complaint asserts the minivan's structural safety cage and front compartment collapsed from the wreck's impact though their purpose is to absorb such force and the seat belts in the vehicle's rear seats did not appropriately restrain the children as intended.

Defendant Chrysler "aggressively and deliberately" touted the minivan as a safe family vehicle "despite its defective occupant restraint system, seat backs and cushions and lack of crashworthiness," it argues.

Robin and Joshua Berry's estates consequently seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas is presiding over the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-1492

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