Around 6:30 p.m. on August 10, 1978, a 1973 Ford Pinto was struck from behind by Robert Duggar. The impact caused the car to become inflamed. Two sisters, Judy and Lynn Ulrich, and their cousin, Donna Ulrich, died as a result of burns received in the accident. The 1973 Pinto they were driving was under recall, but at the time of this photograph it was not known whether repairs had been made to the vehicle. The accident occurred on US 33, south of CR 26. The accident raised questions as to what responsibilities manufacturers have toward public safety. Charges for three counts of negligent homicide were brought against the Ford Motor Company. It was alleged that Ford knew of the potential danger in the location of the gas tank but did nothing to correct the problem and thus protect consumers. The case ended with an innocent verdict for Ford two years later. It was the first time in U.S. history that a corporation faced criminal charges over the issue of product liability.
Elkhart Public Library
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