/  05.08.2022

A Michigan Jeep owner is being sued by the family of a man who was tragically killed by another employee in March 2020 while completing an oil change on the car at the Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership, according to FOX 2.

During the service, a 19-year-old boy at the time who allegedly did not have a license and was not familiar with driving a stick attempted to move the car, but allegedly took his foot off the clutch at the colossally wrong moment. This caused the Jeep to jump forward, striking and killing the 42-year-old mechanic Jeffrey Hawkins, according to attorney David Femminineo, who was hired by the Hawkins family.

Hawkins was a married father of four and a lifelong mechanic. “He was an excellent man,” Femminineo said. “The 2-year-old who was about 1 at the time of the accident, the time of the death, he’ll never know his father.”

Despite him being sued, the unnamed Jeep’s owner was nowhere near the vehicle when the fatality occurred. He was just waiting in the lobby for a routine oil change. When asked why the teen or the dealership isn’t the one being sued, Femminineo claims since the accident happened at work and involved two employees and you can’t sue the boss in that situation. “We can’t (sue the dealership) because of a legal standard that is involved,” he said.

Femminineo claims that the person responsible is the owner of the car. “When you hand your car over to anybody including the valet or the person at the service desk at your local dealership, you better be able to trust that person,” the attorney said.

The Jeep owner could apparently be held liable for millions of dollars in damages because, under Michigan law, if someone is injured or killed and a vehicle is involved, the owner of the car is responsible.

According to FOX 2, the news outlet reached out to the Jeep owner’s attorney, but he had no comment on pending litigation. He is set to “fight this case” in a trial at the end of this month (May).


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