Chrysler working to track down owners in Jeep recall

Channel 2 Action News consumer investigator Jim Strickland has learned Chrysler has told federal regulators they have been unable to notify one third of the owners involved in an important Jeep recall.

Chrysler is trying to better protect gas tanks from exploding in read end collisions.

A report filed with federal regulators shows of 1.56 million recalled Jeeps, 320,000 are fixed or inspected, but 500,000 owners were not able to be reached.

"With people driving them who have no idea that their families are at risk," attorney Jeb Butler said.

Butler represents the family of 4 year old Remi Walden.  The south Georgia boy died in a fiery 2012 crash which brought a $150 million verdict against Chrysler in Decatur County. 

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Chrysler has asked for a new trial, calling the verdict grossly excessive.

Edie Bailey of Cobb County drives a Jeep one year newer than the Walden vehicle, with the same gas tank design.  The gas tank recall doesn't apply to her.  Chrysler’s recall of 1.56 million jeeps leaves 1.2 million out.  Even the Walden Jeep would not have been a recall vehicle.

"It's unfair," Bailey said.

"Chrysler needs to accept responsibility for these Jeeps and does the right thing by pulling them off the road," Butler said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will soon announce whether to reopen the Jeep case.  One option is to recall 1.2 million more of them, including Bailey's

"I don't want to get rear ended, because there's a liability.  I mean there's a danger there," she said.

Chrysler told Strickland in an email the company was able to show regulators MY 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees performed as safely on the whole as peer vehicles from other manufacturers.

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