Family alleges vehicle's defects contributed to deadly accident

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Dec 5, 2013

GALVESTON - Chrysler Group LLC is named in a lawsuit stemming from a March 2012 auto accident which claimed the life of a female passenger as well as injured her relatives.

In court papers filed Dec. 2 in Galveston County District Court, the family of the late Gabriell Kirst alleges the 2005 Dodge Durango they traveled in at the time of said accident was defective.

Plaintiffs Jennifer and Michael Kirst purchased the subject vehicle from an individual named Juan G. Contreras, doing business as Laredo Auto Sales, on Feb. 11, 2012.

On March 30, 2012, they, along with the decedent and David Kirst, rode in the Durango with Jennifer Kirst at the wheel.

According to the suit, the complainants were traveling in the right lane of I-45 South when the vehicle's left rear tire "delaminated causing the vehicle to roll."

"Gabriell and David Kirst were ejected even though they were properly wearing their seat belts," the original petition says.

"Gabriell Kirst died as a result of the injuries she sustained in this accident."

The surviving Kirsts claim they suffered "serious and debilitating" injuries, asserting the Durango "lacked adequate crashworthiness protection, including but not limited to adequate airbag protection, adequate seat belt restraint systems, rollover occupant protection system and an electronic stability control system."

Contreras joins Chrysler as a co-defendant in the case.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek more than $1 million in damages and a jury trial.

They are represented by attorney J. Gregory Marks of Guajardo & Marks LLP in Dallas.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. 13-CV-1507

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