FRESNO (AP) — Family members of the five nurses who died in a limousine fire on a San Francisco Bay Area bridge have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several companies, including those that maintained the limousine and customized it.
The lawsuits — filed on Thursday — claim the companies were responsible for design and manufacturing defects with the 1999 Lincoln Town Car that caused the May 4 fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.
The fire trapped nine women celebrating a friend's recent wedding, killing five of them. The limousine's driver survived.
The California Highway Patrol has said the blaze was caused by a catastrophic failure of the rear suspension system. The air suspension failure allowed the spinning driveshaft to contact the floor pan, causing friction that ignited carpets and set the vehicle on fire, authorities have said.
Prosecutors concluded no criminal charges were warranted.
The lawsuits name: Limo Stop Inc., Ford Motor Co., Bay Area Limousine Repair Inc., Accubuilt Inc., Accubuilt Acquisition Holdings Inc., and DaBryan Coach Builders Inc.
Limo Stop operated the limousine, Bay Area Limousine Repair maintained and repaired it and Accubuilt, Accubuilt Acquisition Holdings and DaBryan customized it, according to the suits.
A message for an attorney for Limo Stop, Doug Sears, was not immediately returned. Messages for Accubuilt, Ford and Bay Area Limousine Repair were also not immediately returned. DaBryan is an Accubuilt brand, according to the company's website.