Jeep Gas Tank Defect

Defective Jeeps: Fires & Explosions

1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees, 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokees, 2002-2007 Jeep Liberties

It happened again.

In Elyria, Ohio, the defective gas tank design of the 2007 Jeep Liberty claimed another victim.  This time it was Vicki Hill, who was stopped at a traffic light when another driver struck her Jeep in the rear.  Collisions like this happen every hour of every day across the United States.  Most of the time, everyone walks away.  But Chrysler had mounted the gas tank in Ms. Hill’s 2007 Jeep Liberty hanging low and right next to the rear bumper, where it was vulnerable in rear impact.  So when the car struck Ms. Hill’s Jeep Liberty, the Jeep burst into flames.  Vicki Hill could not escape the fire.

This photo shows the rear of Vicki Hill’s 2007 Jeep Liberty after the collision and fire.  Note that the damage is not very severe—this was not a high-speed collision.  This should have been a survivable crash, in which Ms. Hill suffered nothing worse than soreness, bumps, and bruises.  But because of where Chrysler mounted the gas tank, Ms. Hill burned to death.

At the trial of a Jeep fire case handled in part by Butler Law, Chrysler hired an accident reconstructionist to testify.  When we cross-examined him, we showed that speed wasn’t the problem.  Chrysler’s defective gas tanks rupture at high speed and they rupture at low speed.  The problem isn’t the speed—it is the tank.

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