OSCEOLA COUNTY, Iowa — Gilbert Chavez, 41, and Dezirae Barela, 31, were rushed to a hospital Feb. 14 following a 1-vehicle rollover accident on U.S. Highway 60.
Chavez was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe south on the highway when the vehicle left the roadway at about 4 p.m. He reportedly overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to roll several times before coming to rest on its roof in the highway’s northbound lane.
Chavez was ejected from the vehicle. Both he and Barela suffered incapacitating injuries and were transported to hospitals for treatment.
Authorities are actively investigating the accident. No additional information has been released.
Thoughts on the fatal accident in Iowa that injured two California residence
Dealing with a rollover accident that has caused death and serious injury requires a close examination of the vehicles involved in the accident. In this case, we have a single-vehicle accident involving a Chevy Tahoe.
We know Chevy Tahoe’s, like other SUVs, are more prone to rollover accidents than other passenger vehicles because of their low SSF. The SSF is a calculation that determines the propensity to roll. Considering the high tendency to roll, auto manufacturers are charged with taking more extraordinary precautions to ensure the occupants of Chevy Tahoe’s are protected in the event of a rollover accident. This includes manufacturing cars with adequate roof crush resistance, safety canopies, and restraint systems. To determine if this vehicle provided sufficient protection, we must take each safety feature independently and in conjunction with the others and determine if Chevy designed a crash-worthy vehicle. Unfortunately, there are many vehicles on the road today that present much greater likelihoods of death than the average vehicle.
Until we have further information, I cannot draw any firm conclusions on the crashworthiness of this vehicle. I extend my condolences to the families affected and hope for their solace in the days to come.
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