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Mother suing Ford after daughter killed in car crash

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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego woman is suing Ford Motor Company after her daughter was killed in a car accident.

“This should not have happened. This was preventable,” said John Thyken, the mother’s attorney.

Thyken said Christine Panos lost her 16-year-old daughter, Cassie Cantrell, in a car crash last March.

“She lost her only daughter, and now she’s just trying to do whatever she can to pick up the pieces,” he said.

The lawsuit states Cantrell was the passenger in a 2008 Ford Focus heading southbound on Ingraham Street near Seaworld when the driver lost control, crashed into multiple cars, and flipped onto its roof.

The driver told police that she applied the brakes, but the Ford “was not stopping or slowing down.”

“There appeared to have been a catastrophic failure in the braking system on this 2008 Ford Fusion,” said Thyken.

Thyken said both teenagers were wearing seatbelts, but evidence also shows Cassie’s seatbelt failed during the crash.

“The driver was safe and unharmed, but Cassie’s seatbelt did not protect her. It became detached, and she died as a result,” he said.

Thyken said they found two unrepaired recalls on the car in a National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) report.

One was a defective braking system that resulted in the car taking longer to stop, increasing the risk of the crash.

Cantrell’s mother is suing Ford for wrongful death and products liability.

Thyken says they’re still looking into other possible incidents involving the recalls.

“What’s clear is that someone made a mistake, whether it was maintenance, whether it was design, and we’re going to get to the bottom of all responsible parties,” he said.

Thyken said Ford is aware of the fatal crash but hasn’t responded to the complaint or allegations. 10News also reached out to Ford for comment. The company said it does speak on pending litigation.

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