Deadly Fort Worth chain-reaction collision started when city bus hit SUV, police report says
A fatal multivehicle crash on Loop 820 on July 10 was started when a Fort Worth city bus for the disabled struck a Jeep Grand Cherokee, according to police reports.
Rodney Wood, 36, the driver of the Jeep, was killed in the chain-reaction collision involving five vehicles on eastbound Northeast Loop 820 at Mark IV Parkway. The collisions started at 5:35 p.m.
According to police, the T driver said the Jeep slammed on its brakes. The bus then struck the Grand Cherokee, which then hit a Chevrolet TrailBlazer. A man in a Chrysler 300 said he tried to avoid a Dodge pickup coming from behind but was rear-ended.
According to an earlier police account, the TrailBlazer also struck the pickup.
The police report cites failure to control bus speed as the cause of the accident.
According to earlier police reports, the Jeep caught fire, which spread to the bus and the Chevy.
That detail caught the attention of a national auto safety watchdog because it involved a vehicle with a possible history of tank fires — and because Chrysler is likely shielded from liability in such cases because of its recent bankruptcy.
“There’s a history of tank fires after rear-end impacts,” said Clarence Ditlow of the Washington-based Center for Auto Safety.
Up through 2007, there were 164 fire crashes involving Jeeps, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration figures. The possible hazard involves Cherokees made between 1993 and 2004, Ditlow said.
While there is no conclusive evidence that a tank fire was involved, if it were to be the case, it would be the first defect case since the Chrysler bankruptcy all but eliminated product liability claims against Chrysler on future crashes.