The mother of a Grain Valley teenager who burned to death in a fiery car wreck in 2016 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors, saying the car was defective.
Anthony Dunlap was killed after the 2006 Chevrolet Impala he was driving hit a curb and the base of a traffic sign before overturning and catching on fire.
Dunlap, 19, burned to death, according to the suit.
“The doctors and surgeons and nurses and everybody came in and explained how they had tried to save Anthony,” his sister Celeste Dunlap told The Star in 2016. “They had fought like hell. He was burnt too bad.”
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The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of Terri Dunlap, alleges that the car was defectively designed and manufactured.
Those alleged defects, according to the suit, “created a high probability that in the event of a crash that flammable materials from the engine compartment would spread to the passenger compartment causing death or injury, or in the alternative such spread would happen much faster eliminating or reducing the chance of occupants to escape before burning.”
The wreck occurred on Missouri 291 in Independence, and the suit also names the city of Independence, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission as defendants.
The city and state agencies are being sued because the concrete sign base that Dunlap’s Impala hit was in a dangerous condition and should have been removed, the lawsuit says.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
“Unfortunately, this case is yet another example of a dangerously defective and unsafe vehicle on our roadways,” Derek Potts, the attorney representing the family, said in a written statement. “A driver of a motor vehicle should not survive an auto accident and then burn to death after the fact.”
A spokesman for GM said Thursday that company staff were looking into the case.