Troubled Airbag Company Sued Over Texas Truck Explosion
The vehicle belonging to a Houston man who got in a minor fender bender, but died from Takata airbag shrapnel in 2015.
Harris County Probate Court records
A truck driver injured after the tractor-trailer he was driving exploded on August 22 is suing an airbag manufacturer, whose components he was hauling, and whose defective parts have been blamed for deaths and injuries around the country.
The explosion in the border town of Quemado also killed a woman and injured at least two other bystanders, who are not part of the lawsuit. (Quemado is about 160 miles southwest of San Antonio.)
Filed Thursday in Maverick County, the truck driver's lawsuit is just the latest civil action against beleaguered airbag manufacturer Takata, which has recalled more than 65 million airbags since 2015.
Federal regulators say the problem lies with the airbag inflator, powered by a propellant that uses ammonium nitrate — the chemical at the heart of the 2013 West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion.
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The lawsuit claims that Rene De Los Santos Olveda was transporting propellant and inflators to a Takata warehouse in Eagle Pass when his truck crashed and exploded.
A National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson said Wednesday that an initial investigation showed that the Takata parts that Olveda was hauling were packaged properly, according to Reuters.
Olveda's attorney, Mo Aziz, is also seeking a temporary restraining order barring Takata personnel from "altering, moving, taking possession of, or destroying" evidence from the crash site, and of doing the same with records related to the tractor-trailer and its cargo. (Aziz also represents the family of a 17-year-old Houston girl killed after a Takata airbag, deployed after a minor fender-bender, shot a piece of shrapnel through her neck, killing her.)
We reached out to a Takata spokesperson and will update if we hear back.