NTSB Investigating Fatal Crash Involving Recalled Tire

A church van rolled over Feb. 21, 2014, on I-75 in Lake City, Fla., after the tread separated from its left rear tire, according to the agency's March 12 news release. That tire was part of a recall by BFGoodrich in July 2012.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced it is is investigating a fatal highway crash of a church van in Lake City, Fla., last month that involved the failure of a tire that was subject to a July 2012 recall. The van rolled over when the tread separated from its left rear tire—a two-year-old BFGoodrich Commercial T/A A/S that was part of the company's recall of about 800,000 tires typically found on commercial light trucks and full-size, heavy-duty vans. The tire recall notice sent to tire owners in July 2012 said "it is possible that any one of the tires being recalled may experience tread loss and/or rapid air loss resulting from tread belt separation. This condition may increase the risk of a vehicle crash."

NTSB's March 12 news release described the rollover crash as occurring Feb. 21 when the driver lost control of a 2002 Ford E350 XLT 15-passenger van after the tread failure. Two adults and two juveniles were ejected from the vehicle, and both adults died in the crash. The remaining occupants, an adult and seven children, were injured. NTSB reports the van was operated by the First Baptist Church in New Port Richey, Fla., and was being driven to a church camp in Georgia.

Agency investigators will examine the tire and review the recall process to determine whether First Baptist Church ever received the recall notice. And NTSB's release said another recent multiple-fatality crash involving a failed tire also is under investigation, with loss of control due to tread separation in a 10-year-old Michelin Cross Terrain tire as the cause—but that tire was not the subject of any recall, according to the release. It says this was a Feb. 15 collision on US 90 near Centerville, La., of a sport utility vehicle and a school bus carrying a high school baseball team. The driver of a 2004 Kia Sorento lost control because of the tire failure, and the SUV crossed a grassy median area and collided with the bus traveling in the opposite direction. The Kia driver and three rear passengers died and a fourth passenger in the SUV was seriously hurt, and 31 of the 36 school bus occupants also were injured.

"The failed tires involved in both accidents will undergo a laboratory analysis to identify the factors involved in the separations," the release states.

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