St. Louis Public Radio News
4:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2003

St. Clair Judge OK's Class Action Suit Against Ford

Belleville, Ill – A judge has given the go-ahead to Illinois police departments who want to sue the Ford Motor Company over Crown Victoria Police Interceptor cars that some claim are unsafe.

St. Clair County Judge Lloyd Cueto ruled this week that the police departments are making a uniform accusation, and therefore may sue the company together as a class action.

Since 1983, 14 officers nationwide have died in crashes when their Interceptors' gas tanks ignited after rear collisions, though none was from Illinois.

Missouri trooper Michael Newton burned to death May 22th on the side of Interstate 70, when a pickup crashed into his cruiser.

The lawsuit, which was first brought by St. Clair County and the city of Centreville, seeks to force Ford to retrofit the cars with safety equipment.