East Texas Woman Sues Ford Motor Company For Her Son's Death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/13/07-Flint

East Texas Woman Sues Ford Motor Company For Her Son's Death

A newly released recall from Ford Motor Company includes a car, an East Texas man was driving when he died.  The accident report from the Department of Public Safety says Payton Lewis, 22 somehow lost control of his car last December, hit a tree and the car then started on fire.  His girlfriend Samantha Ely, who was in the car also died.  Payton's mother believes it was a faulty speed control switch that caught fire, killing her son.  She is now suing Ford Motor Company hoping to keep her son's dream of helping others alive.  

Not a minute goes by Delicia Lewis of Flint says she doesn't think about her son Payton.  The images of her son's burnt car Delicia says haunt her, knowing it all could have been prevented.

"After we began getting more information, as the days rolled by, the 911 call, reported a car on fire leaving the road, so things started not adding up," said Delicia.  Before the accident Delicia says she and Payton had problems with the car.  She says the cruise control just kept turning on and off.

"You don't think because your cruise control is cutting on and off on it's own that it's going to kill somebody," said Delicia.  "You just think that it is eventually going to go out."  Just last week, Ford Motor Company recalled 3.6 million vehicles because of concerns with cruise control switch's that could catch fire.  The car Payton was driving, a 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII, is among the makes and models on the recall list.

"It was a sense of piece in one way, and a lot of guilt in another because I'm the one who purchased the car," said Delicia.  Before he died, Payton had started a non-profit organization called Payton's Project where he wanted to build affordable homes.  After his death, Delicia and Payton's brothers picked up Payton's dream, and hope to keep it going as long as the money allows.

"The money is not going to bring Payton back," said Delicia.  "You know my baby is gone.  I just want him to know that whatever we do get from this settlement, it's going towards helping people."

Ford Motor Company says it has not received the law suit yet.  A company spokesperson also told KLTV 7 it will be conducting a thorough investigation of the car and says there are many things that could cause a car to start on fire.

Molly Reuter, Reporting mreuter@kltv.com

 

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