Woman sues Skico and auto companies after Jeep accident | AspenTimes.com

Woman sues Skico and auto companies after Jeep accident

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

An Aspen woman has filed suit against the Aspen Skiing Co., claiming her car’s emergency brake released unexpectedly and dragged her down a Skico-owned embankment.

Holly Svendsen is also suing DaimlerChrysler Motors Corp., makers of the 1993 Jeep Wrangler she says she was driving at the time. According to the suit filed Wednesday in Pitkin County District Court, the accident happened when Svendsen was driving home from the grocery store in September 2000.

The suit says the road to Svendsen’s apartment was blocked by a Skico-owned fence that must be opened manually. The suit did not specify where the road and fence are located, and Svendsen and her attorney, Dan Shipp, were not available for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Svendsen parked her Jeep, setting the parking brake, in order to get out and close the gate once the vehicle was through. When she returned to her car, the suit says the emergency brake released unexpectedly, dragging her down the embankment. The vehicle apparently crashed through the gate and traveled down the road owned by the Skico.

Svendsen suffered “catastrophic injuries,” the suit reads, including deformity and disfigurement of her right ear, lacerations to her head and tearing of connective tissue in her back.

As well as the auto manufacturing company, Svensen is suing Dura Operating Corp., Atwood Automotive Inc. and Atwood Mobile Products Inc., designers of the emergency brake system in the Wrangler. She is also suing Alpine Tire Co. Inc., which inspected the emergency-brake system of the Jeep just prior to the accident.

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According to the lawsuit, Svendsen is suing the auto manufacturing companies for negligence and “strict liability,” breach of warranties and exemplary damages. The suit claims the Skico “failed to exercise reasonable care in the selection, design and/or maintenance of the gate” and “failed to warn of the known dangers on its property created by the gate.”

Svendsen claims she has suffered emotional distress, pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, medical and rehabilitative expenses and lost income. She is suing for a damage amount to be determined by a jury.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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