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Family sues tire maker in fatal rollover

Published February 12, 2010 6:18 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The wife and children of Utah State University instructor Evan Parker, who was killed along with eight of his students in a 2005 rollover of a school van, have filed a wrongful-death suit against the manufacturer of the vehicle's tires.

The lawsuit alleges that a tire on the 1994 Dodge Ram 3500 Wagon was defective and its tread peeled off without warning, causing Parker to lose control of the vehicle. It alleges that Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. knew the design and manufacture of its tires were faulty and did not fix the problems.

The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

On Sept. 26, 2005, Parker was driving 10 agricultural students back to Logan from a field trip when the van blew a tire and rolled four times down an embankment along Interstate 84. Six were pronounced dead at the scene and three later died in hospitals. Parker was among the dead.

The two survivors and the heirs of the eight students filed a lawsuit in 2006 against Cooper Tire and DaimlerChrysler Corp., maker of the van. The claims against DaimlerChrysler were resolved out of court in 2008.

Brad Bearnson, a Logan attorney who represents the Parker family and the plaintiffs in the 2006 action, said Friday that the two lawsuits will be combined into a single suit. The case is scheduled to go to trial in spring 2011.

pmanson@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">pmanson@sltrib.com