The parents of two northwest Georgia teenagers killed in a rollover pickup crash last year are blaming automaker Nissan for their deaths and have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages.
Georgia State Patrol investigators said the 2006 Nissan Titan XE pickup truck was traveling at a high rate of speed on Aug. 28, 2014, when the 17-year-old driver, River Sosebee, lost control in a curve on Old CCC Camp Road in Murray County
Sosebee and backseat passengers Joshua Roberts, 17, and Chelsie Hullender, 18, were killed in the accident. The truck also overturned on Bryan Bartley, 57, killing him while he was mowing his yard. A third passenger in the truck, Alexis Pinson, was injured.
The teens were from Chatsworth, about an hour and a half northwest of Atlanta, just east of Dalton.
The parents of Roberts, Hullender and Pinson, and Bartley’s children, claim in a suit filed recently in State Court in Gwinnett County that Nissan Motor Corp. and Nissan North America were at fault because they say the pickup truck was built without safety guards that would protect passengers during a rollover crash.
“Nissan is aware of the lawsuit but cannot comment on active litigation at this time,” spokesman Steve Yaeger told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
The suit also names Sosebee’s father, Troy, as a defendant, saying the elder Sosebee gave the minor permission to drive the pickup and is liable for his son’s negligence.Troy Sosebeee could not be reached for comment.
According to the suit filed Oct. 28, Sosebee was driving his father’s Titan with Roberts, Hullender and Pinson as passengers when he lost control and rolled over, crushing the victims as the roof collapsed.
The suit claims the deaths would have been preventable had the Nissan been built with safety features such as electronic stability control and a reinforced cab that would protect occupants in rollovers. The suit says the roof of the truck “crushed completely down to the body of the truck.”
“Nissan knew that safer alternative designs were available and feasible when it manufactured the subject Titan, but it willfully, wantonly and recklessly chose not to implement those alternative designs,” the suit states.
The parents and children filing the suit, respectively, include Vickie and Jesse Roberts Jr., William Hullender and Farrah Mantooth, Alexis Pinson and Derek Bartley and Ashley Horton.
In addition to punitive damages, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for pain and suffering.
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