On February 26, 2017, 16-year-old Nolan Mullins crashed into Lake St. Clair after his mother's Ford Flex steering wheeled reportedly locked up on him causing him to veer toward the lake at 30 miles per hour. "It felt like the tire locked," Nolan told The Detroit Free Press. "I tried shaking the wheel, and I couldn't get it to move. It wouldn't move. I had this freak-out moment," he said. "By the time I slammed on the brakes, I wasn't getting any traction."
The Ford Flex crashed into the lake at a 33-degree angle and began to sink. Nolan first tried to escape through the driver side door without success, and then tried the windows, which successfully rolled down and allowed him to swim out of the vehicle after unbuckling himself. "If I'd waited another five seconds, I think I would have lost the power windows," Nolan said.
Once he was free of the vehicle, Nolan swam to the hood of the car so he could signal for help. That is when Lisa Hughes, an elementary school teacher, happened to be driving by and saw the crowd of cars nearby where Nolan had crashed. Hughes quickly jumped into action by ordering her daughter to call 911 while she encouraged Nolan to give her his parents' phone number. Hughes informed Nolan's mother about the situation and alerted her that the authorities were on their way.
Ford Flex Recall
By the time the U.S. Coast Guard reached Nolan, he had mild hypothermia and was taken to St. Johns Hospital to be treated. It is currently unclear what exactly caused the Flex to malfunction, but it is known that the Ford issued a recall on nearly 400,000 vehicles back in June 2015, which included the Ford Flex for power steering issues.
Mr. Nolan was fortunate in being able to escape from his vehicle without the power windows seizing up on him. It is important to remember that others might not be so lucky. Therefore, all drivers and anyone with access to a motor vehicle should remember to regularly check to see if any recalls have been issued for their vehicle. In regards to Ford models, anyone who may be under the recall is encouraged to contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 to avoid any potential accidents in the future. All other drivers are encouraged to go to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s website and enter their vehicle identification number (VIN) number, to find out if their vehicle is safe to drive. It only takes one minute to use the NHTSA's recall look up, which means that it could only take one minute to avoid a car accident and ultimately save lives.
Situations like the one Mr. Nolan experienced can be very scary, especially since his malfunctioning car did not lead to a typical motor vehicle accident but a potential drowning. Therefore, car drivers and owners should take precautions to check for vehicle recalls, and in case of a recall, get their vehicles serviced and fixed as soon as possible in order to avoid accidents like this from happening. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to a malfunctioning vehicle or a car under recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today.