Consumer groups: Vehicles like church van that crashed in NY, killing 6, inherently unstable

By Jim Fitzgerald, AP
Monday, September 20, 2010

Consumer groups: Type of van in NY crash unstable

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A church van that rolled over on the New York State Thruway and killed six people is a type some consumer groups have been calling unsafe for nearly a decade.

Two groups said Monday in response to a question from The Associated Press that 15-passenger vans are inherently unstable. They say they’ve been pushing for years for recalls, retrofits and redesigns.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. says the 1997 Econoline that crashed is safe when maintained and driven properly. It notes police reported the rollover was preceded by a blown tire.

No official cause of the crash has been made public.

The federal highway safety agency says there were 1,090 fatalities between 1997 and 2006 in 15-passenger vans. Most involved rollovers.

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