The Real Deal: Random Airbag Deployment
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:24 PM EDT
JOHNSTOWN – A Johnstown woman was badly bruised when the airbag in her 2003 Jeep Liberty blew for no apparent reason.
Connie Lee and her grandson Corey have a weekly ritual, on Friday’s they hit up the Dairy Frost for some ice cream. One of their recent visits there turned downright dangerous, “we got our ice cream cones…we're sitting in the car with the air conditioning going and the airbag exploded, it just exploded!” Lee says. It took a minute for she and Corey to realize what had just happened, “a minute or two later, my hand started throbbing, my face was burning...I opened the windows all up because all this smoke and powder stuff kept shooting out of the airbag,” she says. Lee had a bruised face, hand and chest but she was thankful that the random airbag deployment didn’t happen when the car was in drive, “I could have hit somebody, I could have done serious damage,” she tells CBS6.
Lee’s 2003 Jeep Liberty is part of a recent Chrysler recall, issued over concerns about inadvertent airbag deployments. Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found flawed occupant restraint control modules within the vehicle can lead to the deployments. Lee says she doesn’t remember getting a recall notice but even if she did and missed it, it appears Chrysler wasn’t prepared to fix the issue anyway. Lee says an investigator sent to inspect her Jeep following the deployment told her, that the company doesn’t have the parts in stock to fix any of the recalled Jeeps.
A spokesman for the Chrysler Group tells CBS6, “Customer safety is paramount to Chrysler Group. The company sincerely regrets any injuries that have occurred. Parts for vehicles affected by this campaign have just become available in sufficient quantities and are scheduled for shipment by mid-August. A Chrysler Group technician has recently examined this customer’s vehicle, and the information obtained during that inspection is being analyzed.”
In the meantime, Lee has no truck and her insurance company won’t cover the cost of a rental since it appears to be a mechanical failure on the part of the manufacturer.