News

Lawsuit filed in exploding air bag death in Michigan

General Motors Chevrolet
Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 16:34:07-04

HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) — The family of a Michigan woman who was killed after an airbag module exploded in her SUV following a crash filed a lawsuit alleging negligence.

The complaint was filed Thursday in Houghton County Circuit Court and names Arc Automotive Inc., General Motors and Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. It seeks a jury trial and more than $25,000 in damages.

The lawsuit claims that pieces of the air bag inflator, steering wheel and steering column from Marlene Beaudoin's Chevy Traverse pierced her chest, neck and head after her vehicle was struck Aug. 15, 2021 by a car in Calumet in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Police reports show that a metal inflator fragment hit her neck in the crash. Beaudoin, 39, died at a hospital.

Four of Beaudoin's 10 children also were in the SUV.

The Associated Press left emails Friday seeking comment from Arc Automotive Inc. and Toyoda Gosei North America. General Motors declined to comment Friday.

ARC Automotive makes air bag inflators that are sold to air bag manufacturers. ARC Automotive, GM, Ford and Volkswagen were named in May in a federal class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco.

That lawsuit accuses the companies of knowingly selling vehicles containing air bag inflators that are at risk of exploding. Two deaths and at least four injuries have been linked to such explosions.

Five plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit are owners of vehicles with ARC inflators who contend the defective air bag parts were not disclosed when they made their purchases.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been investigating ARC inflators for nearly seven years without a resolution, has estimated that 51 million such vehicles are on U.S. roads. That's somewhere between 10% and 20% of all passenger vehicles.