Tire Maker Faces Wrongful Death Suit Over Bus Crash

HOUSTON (CN) – Several injured passengers and the family members of those killed claim a defective Michelin tire that was almost brand new is to blame for a bus crashing while on a tour of Mexico last year.

The tour bus that crashed in October 2017 while on a trip to Mexico. Photo courtesy of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz.

According to a 23-page amended complaint filed Friday in Harris County, Texas, the crash victims were traveling from Houston to Mexico last October on a tour bus trip organized by defendant Francisco Tours when the tread on one of the tires separated from the tire itself, causing the driver to lose control and crash.

Pedro and Jovita Alvarez were killed and several other passengers were injured.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys with Abraham Watkins in Houston, also names as defendants Motor Coach Industries and Michelin North America.

“The tire that failed was not old or worn out, it was supposedly manufactured a few months before this incident,” one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Muhammad Aziz, said in a statement.

The tire, a Michelin XZA2 Energy 315, was installed on the front left side of the bus when it “suffered a catastrophic tread-belt separation,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges Michelin had other similar tires in its product line that were safer and less prone to tread separations.

In addition to the tire failure, the plaintiffs claim bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries is also at fault for the deaths and injuries for installing bus windows that “failed to comply with local, state, and federal regulations,” did not meet industry standards and were “unreasonably dangerous.”

Motor Coach Industries also allegedly failed to install seatbelts in the bus, which attorney Aziz sharply criticized in his statement.

“There is no reason that a bus manufactured in 2004 should not have seat belts to protect passengers,” Aziz said. “The lack of seatbelts in passenger and school buses is a primary cause of death and severe injury in bus accidents.”

Michelin, Motor Coach Industries and Francisco Tours did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment.

The 14 plaintiffs, many of whom represent minor children or the two passengers who died, seek punitive damages for claims of wrongful death, product liability, gross negligence and breach of warranty.

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