November 6, 2014 — The death of a Bay Area football star and volunteer coach has been blamed on a defective highway guardrail that failed to absorb the impact of his vehicle in a head-on collision.
I-Team investigators with ABC 7 News visited the crash-site and reported that Caltrans left a mess, including pieces of the vehicle and biohazard bags filled with dirty gloves. However, Caltrans took special care to remove and preserve the ET-Plus guardrail end-terminal, manufactured by Trinity Industries.
It may become the most important piece of evidence if a lawsuit is filed. At least 18 lawsuits have been filed against Trinity Industries since 2005, blaming the guardrails for at least 14 injuries and eight deaths. Ten were filed in 2014 and at least 12 are still pending.
At least 39 states have banned the ET-Plus, but not California. The ET-Plus is installed on thousands of miles of highway throughout San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and more.
Darryl Blackmon, a 24 year-old man who planned on trying out for the 49ers in April, was driving home from work in San Francisco at 4:30 in the morning. It is not clear how the crash occurred, but he hit the ET-Plus end-terminal on a highway guardrail in Mill Valley, California.
The guardrail flipped onto the highway and Blackmon’s vehicle continued past, hitting a sign pole and flipping upside down. Tragically, Blackmon died in the crash. Safety advocates say he might still be alive if the ET-Plus were not defectively designed.
The ET-Plus is supposed to absorb the impact of an oncoming vehicle and deflect the guardrail away. Instead, a growing number of injuries and deaths are being blamed on guardrails that buckle and impale oncoming vehicles. Last month, a jury in Texas found the manufacturer of the ET-Plus found liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes that may have made the ET-Plus defective.
Do I have a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a head-on crash with a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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