Tennessee Jury Awards Nearly $50 Million to Family Involved in Fatal Crash Near Corning

FEBRUARY 25, 2005 - Posted at 7:49 a.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - A Tennessee jury has awarded punitive damages of more than $48 million to the family of two Tennessee women killed in a 2002 crash near Corning, Arkansas.  The woman was driving a Dodge Caravan, and her family sued the DaimlerChrysler Corporation, which made the vehicle.  The judgement came in the second phase of a trial in which the family of Vickie Mohr and her mother, Maurine Heathscott, claimed the vehicle was unreasonably dangerous.

The 38-year-old Mohr, of Cedar Grove, Tennessee, and 76-year-old Heathscott, of Lexington, Tennessee, were killed in a three-vehicle accident on July 5, 2002.  The accident happened on U.S. 67 about three miles west of Corning when a sport utility vehicle hit them head on.  Mohr was the driver and her mother was in the front passenger seat.

Lawyer Rick Charlton said Mohr's death was attributed to the mini-van's lack of crashworthiness.  Jurors agreed and found DaimlerChrysler guilty of intentional or reckless conduct.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)