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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

Laina Wanttie was killed in a two-vehicle accident involving an ambulance on Toll 49

LINDALE, Texas—Laina Wanttie, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash with an ambulance on Toll 49 near Lindale, Texas, on August 30, 2022.

Reportedly, Wanttie was traveling southbound on Toll 49 in her 2021 Chevrolet Malibu when she lost control of the car, crossed over into the northbound lane, and hit an ambulance. The ambulance was not transporting any patients at the time of the crash.

Wanttie was taken to Lighthouse Mortuary in Tyler, Texas. Two people in the ambulance were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

No other details about the crash were immediately available.

Why Ms. Wanttie lost control of the vehicle will be critical to any potential recovery

In the wake of this tragic event, Wanttie’s family and loved ones are likely left wondering exactly what caused Wanttie to lose control of her vehicle. While some might assume Wanttie was not paying attention to the road, the cause of the accident may not be so straightforward. Instead, Wanttie may have been the victim of a tire defect or mechanical failure, which ultimately proved fatal.

Tire defects or steering column failures can cause cars to veer rapidly off-course, resulting in unexpected injuries and loss of life. These malfunctioning parts fall under the category of “defective products,” which are typically the consequence of manufacturing error or poor workmanship at a repair shop. Given that Wanttie’s Chevrolet Malibu was only a year old, further investigation will be required to determine whether the car was, in fact, subject to a defective product.

If investigators find that Wanttie did not go off the road due to her own negligence but, instead, crashed suddenly due to a tire or steering failure, then Wanttie’s family could have a product liability claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer. One must keep in mind, however, that it is often difficult to prove that a defective product was the cause of a crash. Even experienced investigators overlook tire failures and steering problems and favor a simple resolution: blaming the driver for distracted driving.

Our firm focuses its efforts on advocating for the best investigatory measures when determining causation in accidents. And, while it is still unclear why Wanttie went off the road and crashed into an ambulance, her family should be given every opportunity to understand why this terrible accident occurred in the first place.

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