Woman starts van, airbags explode - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Woman starts van, airbags explode

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COOLIDGE, AZ (CBS5) -

After being without a vehicle for a year, Karen Ross-Glasser saved up some cash and purchased a 1994 Plymouth Voyager minivan from Craigslist last month. On Wednesday, when she started the vehicle, the airbags exploded in her face.

I was going to an appointment. I put the key in the ignition, and I turned the key, and it went 'Boom!' I was just hit," Ross-Glasser said.

Ross-Glaser said she had no clue what had happened at first, but she knew she was hurt.

"I was terrified. I thought my car had just blew up. I got hit in the head by this piece that blew off of my steering wheel. I have burns all over my chest," Ross-Glasser said. 

The airbags in Ross-Glaser's 1994 Plymouth Voyager minivan has spontaneously deployed.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) information, 1994 Plymouth Voyagers were recalled for this exact problem. CBS 5 News learned sellers are not required to notify purchasers of recalls on used vehicles. The only way to find out whether a used vehicle has been recalled is to contact the manufacturer, or check NHTSA's website.

When Ross-Glaser contacted Chrysler, which owned Plymouth, she was told the problem had already been corrected.

"Chrysler is telling me, 'Hey, we've already fixed it.' This isn't fixed," she exclaimed.

Eric Mayne, a spokesperson for Chrysler released the following statement when CBS 5 News contacted him about the airbag deployment.

"Chrysler Group takes very seriously any and all complaints about vehicle malfunction. We will investigate this report further because customer safety and security is paramount to us. As of 1998, every new vehicle sold in the U.S. is required to feature airbags as standard equipment. Accordingly, tens of millions of vehicles on today's roads are so-equipped. Incidents of inadvertent airbag deployments are an exceedingly rare phenomenon."

However, when CBS 5 News asked for more specific details about Ross-Glaser's situation, we received this response:

"I'm told that the customer has advised us she is consulting a lawyer. Therefore, this is now a legal matter and we will not be commenting further."

Ross-Glaser said she told the local dealership she was considering hiring an attorney, but never told that to Chrysler officials.

"I don't know what I'm going to do now. If I get pulled over, I get in a lot of trouble. It's illegal to be on the road now, because of the cracked windshield and the airbag deployment," Ross-Glaser said.

CBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry has the following advice if you're thinking about buying a used car, and want to learn about any recalls.

  • Contact a manufacturer's dealership with the make, model and year of the vehicle you're thinking of purchasing. They can provide details about whether there are any recalls.
  • If there are, provide the dealership with the vehicle's VIN number. The service department should be able to look up whether the vehicle had been repaired due to the recall.

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