• May 25, 2017

Antonio DeCarlos Sumerlin Killed in Birmingham, AL, Accident

Birmingham, AL -- April 29, 2017, Antonio DeCarlos Sumerlin was killed following an accident in which a tire blowout caused his vehicle to crash.

The Birmingham Police Department released preliminary information surrounding the fatal incident, which they say happened at around 2:00 p.m. near the intersection of I-59 and 4th Avenue South.

According to investigators, 24-year-old Sumerlin was driving along the southbound lanes of the interstate when one of his tires suddenly blew out. This caused the vehicle to lose control, swerve across traffic lanes, and overturn repeatedly.

Sumerlin was ejected during the crash, causing fatal injuries from which he died at the scene.

Police have yet to release additional details on the crash.

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I've often told people that there are many ways that a single-vehicle accident is caused by factors beyond the driver's control. This is a tragic example of that very idea. It's very common for tire blowouts to cause accidents on the highway, yet many people aren't entirely aware of the possible factors surrounding such incidents.

The common belief is that tire blowouts happen because the vehicle ran over something that popped the tire. This is certainly a possibility, but there have been other more serious factors involved in these sorts of incidents in the past. For example, I've seen several cases where someone took their vehicle into an auto shop which put tires on the vehicle that were either in disrepair or the wrong tire for their particular vehicle. Either of these could easily lead to a blowout mid-drive. Not only that, but it's entirely possible that a defect in the tire itself caused the blowout. Sometimes manufacturing companies make mistakes and ship out dangerous products. Unfortunately, the mistake often doesn't come to light until after it's already too late to stop it.

The issue here is that not only are these factors rare, they're very difficult to detect during investigations. Police investigators, quite frankly, don't have the experience or tools necessary to examining the tire the way it needs to be in order to rule out or confirm such subtle evidence. This is why I always advocate for the aid of an industry professional who specializes in tire blowouts. These are investigators independent of the police who have years of experienced and state-of-the-art technology to help determine exactly what caused the tire to blowout.

Any accident where someone is hurt or killed warrants as thorough an investigation as possible to find out what caused their injuries. It's possible that it was simply an unavoidable, freak occurrence. It's also possible someone was responsible for the accident. If that's the case, it needs to be determined who and why, and that person needs to be brought to answer for their actions. The first step to achieving this is a thorough investigation by an experienced professional.

--Grossman Law Offices


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