Parents of ETX teen killed in crash file lawsuit against General - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Parents of ETX teen killed in crash file lawsuit against General Motors

Skylar Carpenter Skylar Carpenter
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

The parents of an East Texas teen who was killed during an FFA trip have filed a lawsuit against General Motors.

On February 17, 2011, fifteen-year-old Skylar Carpenter and five other classmates were on their way to a Future Farmers of America competition in San Antonio when their driver, a teacher, lost control of the vehicle.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Skylar's Family say the SUV manufacturer knew the suburban would not protect its occupants in a rollover.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Tyler. Attorneys say two safety systems installed in the SUV failed to work properly. The result left a Quitman family, friends and classmates mourning Skylar's loss.


"That kid was really loved. She was special and everybody really liked her," Pastor Mike Fletcher of Spur On Ministries said back in February 2011.

In court documents, attorneys representing Skylar's parents list 12 defects that they say the manufacturer of the vehicle knew about. Attorneys say two of those defects contributed to Skylar's death-- seatbelt and side curtain airbag malfunctions.

"If you look at the physical evidence on the seatbelt itself, Skylar was pretty obviously belted. However, seatbelts unlatch all of the time," says Todd Tracy, the attorney representing Skylar's family in the lawsuit.

The side curtain airbag was supposed to keep Skylar inside the vehicle in the event of a crash.

"What was happening was the edges of the side curtain airbag were binding up and seizing and leaving a big ejection portal that people could be ejected from," says Tracy.

The lawsuit alleges General Motors was negligent in design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the vehicle the students were riding in.

"They should have been doing rollover testing with this particular vehicle, but they weren't doing them at this time. General Motors is now doing [rollover resting] but they're only about 25 years behind the times," says Tracy.

Skylar's parents are seeking whatever damages a judge or jury see fit, though nothing may heal the pain of losing their daughter who was loved by so many.

As of Tuesday evening, General Motors had not filed a response to the lawsuit.

Click here to see the civil suit.

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