Samantha Schaub, 21, of Indianapolis Indiana was headed north on Monday, June 17, 2013 when her 1997 Ford Explorer suddenly crossed the median and crashed into a Jeep which was headed south on I-79 near Morgantown, WV. Schaub was removed from her burning car by a passerby, but was found dead at the scene. Mechanical failure and medical conditions are being investigated to determine a possible cause for the vehicle crossing the median.
Five others, including three children, were injured in the southbound vehicle, a 2006 Jeep, in the crash that occurred at about 12:45 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-79 near the Westover, WV exit.
Carl Hautmann, 46, of Ownings, Md was the driver of the Jeep. Four of the five injured in the Jeep were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital by Mon EMS, and one child was flown by helicopter.
Eyewitnesses said the Ford Explorer burst into flames almost immediately, but State Police Sgt. J.P. Branham reported Schaub did not die from the fire. She was the only person in that vehicle. Several people stopped to help including Neil Korzun.
Traffic was backed up for miles while the southbound lane of I-79 was shut down for hours during the rescue, investigation, and cleanup efforts after this fiery, tragic crash. In addition to the vehicle debris, clothes from the Jeep were strewn all over the interstate.
Ford Recalls 390,000 Vehicles for Gas Tank Fire Potential
Though the impact of the crash certainly led to this fire, it is interesting to note that as of June 3, 2013 Ford has recalled nearly 390,000 vehicles in the U.S. for a potential fuel tank leak that could result in a fire.
The automaker said the recall affects the Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Interceptor Utility, Interceptor Sedan, and Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKZ. All of the vehicles are from the 2013 model year. The Explorer involved in this accident was a 1997 model, but if you have a 2013 Ford, you need to contact your dealership for possible recall on your vehicle.
At issue is a part within the gas tank that may fail and leak fuel onto the ground. If the spilled fuel catches a spark, a fire could occur. Ford said it is not aware of any fires, accidents, or injuries as a result of this defect. The automaker has received 600 complaints as of March 31, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC — Morgantown WV Injury Attorneys
If you or your loved one has been injured, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim in order to gain the compensation needed to help you move forward with your recovery and your life. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.
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Source: The Dominion Post, “Woman Dies on I-79” by Brandy Brubaker, 6/18/2013, www.dominionpost.com