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Ford Expands Windstar Recall After Family Of Man Killed In Massachusetts Minivan Crash Complains That Safety Alert Was Sent Too Late

Ford Motor Co. is expanding its recall of 575,000 Windstar vehicles to include another 37,000 minivans. According to the Associated Press, the expansion of the recall comes after the family of Sean Bowman complained that the automaker didn’t do enough warn about the initial recall, which involved older Windstars and concerns that the vans’ rear axles might corrode and break.
Bowman, 28 was killed in a single-vehicle crash last October when he lost control of his 2001 Ford WIndstar and rammed into the side of a building. Critically injured in the accident was his girlfriend. Bowman leaves behind two young daughters, ages 4 and 7. His family says that they did not receive a safety recall notice from Ford until one week after the tragic traffic collision and more than six weeks after the recall was announced in August. They are considering filing a Massachusetts auto products liability lawsuit against Ford over his wrongful death.
Federal law requires car manufacturers let vehicle owners know about a recall “within a reasonable amount of time.” Usually, owners are notified about a recall within 30 days.
While the original recall affected 1998 to 2003 model Windstars in certain US states and Canada, where heavy road salt can cause rust to appear on the axles and crack-related corrosions to cause axle breakage, the expanded recall adds 2003 Windstars that come with heat-treated axles, as well as vans in Utah where road salt is used. Ford says that its latest figures show that as of September, there have been at least seven accidents linked to the axle defect that have resulted in injuries—although the automaker says that none of the injuries are serious. It has received some 950 complaints about the axles.
Ford says that it has been looking through state motor vehicle registration databases to search for WIndstar owners affected by the recall. Notifications of the expanded recall started to go out last week.
Minivan recall grows as victim’s family speaks out, Forbes, December 15, 2010
Minivan Recall Grows As Victim’s Family Speaks Out, NPR/AP, December 15, 2010
Whitman, Mass. police investigate deadly car crash into building, NECN, October 15, 2010
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