Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 8, 2013, 11:01am

MARSHALL - A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed over the death of a Texas woman who suffered fatal injuries when her Ford vehicle entered a rollover sequence allegedly caused by a tire’s tread belt separation.

Don G. Billings, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Cristina Munguia Billings, deceased, Abraham Aaron Billings, Wilma Ann Hillery, Adele Eleanor Davis and Grace Billings filed suit against Continental Tire the Americas and Ford Motor Co. on Oct. 2 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on June 30, 2012, as Cristina Billings was driving on US Highway 75 in a 2003 Ford Expedition in Denison with Don Billings as a passenger. According to the suit, the rear right tire suffered a catastrophic tread belt separation causing the vehicle to lose control.

The suit says Billings saw a concrete barrier ahead and directed the vehicle to the left, which caused it to enter a roll onto the driver’s side and landed upright in the roadway. She suffered a severe head injury and died at the scene.

Don Billings suffered serious injuries and witnessed the suffering and death of his wife, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs allege that the accident was caused by the tire’s tread-belt separation.

The defendants are accused of strict liability and negligence for failing to adequately design, test, and manufacture the tire, failing to prevent or inspect for irregular belt spacing, overlapped belt splices and dog-eared splices, using aged, dry and/or otherwise deteriorated or off-spec materials in the construction of the subject tire, failing to design and manufacture the tire to outlast its tread life, failing to provide adequate warnings and instructions and for failing to prevent and/or inspect for innerliner cracks and pattern marks.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of wrongful death damages, survival damages, and personal injury damages for pecuniary loss, loss of consortium, companionship and society, mental anguish, loss of inheritance, loss of community estate and addition to estate, funeral and burial expenses, physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and medical expenses.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jason P. Hoelscher and Stuart R. White of Sico, White, Hoelscher, Harris & Braugh L.L.P. in Corpus, Christi. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00788

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