TUCSON, Ariz. (Feb. 7, 2002)—A Tucson Superior Court jury has determined a car rental firm must pay millions in an alleged tread separation case that resulted in a little girl's death.
The court ordered APS Rent-a-Car Inc. to pay $9.5 million to the family of Arecili Naranjo, a 6-year-old girl killed when a Firestone F-570 tire on her parents' Chevy Astro rental van allegedly lost its tread, causing the vehicle to roll over. The jury found APS liable for putting a defective product on the road and failing to tell the Naranjos of a previous tire failure on the van.
An associate of Steven Copple, the Naranjos' attorney, said she didn't know why the family didn't pursue a claim against Bridgestone/Firestone, which manufactured the tire.
Meanwhile, Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone/Firestone said in a statement that it wasn't allowed to present its side of the story at the trial. “We now know this tire was damaged due to misuse, underinflation and misapplication,” the company said.