Attorney Dave Scott participated in SUV rollover crash tests he designed to demonstrate safety improvements. (IL Photo/Tom Fougerousse)
New Albany attorney Dave Scott wanted to prove a point when he strapped himself behind the wheel of a 1999 Ford Explorer that was pushed down an embankment, violently rolling over multiple times. Just to be safe, he later buckled into another Explorer that again was tipped over and sent careening roof over wheels, rolling three times.
“The theory of the case was that there were devices or designs available that would have reduced or eliminated or prevented the injury to the occupant in the vehicle,” Scott said of an older case and a similar current case where he’s representing clients severely injured in rollover crashes.
Setting out to prove his theory, Scott modified the Explorers with the help of Terre Haute trial lawyer and friend James O. McDonald. They installed roll bars inside to reinforce the vehicle’s roofs and swapped out the driver seats. They used a seat and seat belt from a Chrysler Sebring convertible that had cinching restraints, then crash-tested the vehicles, flipping them down a steep grade on McDonald’s farm, once with McDonald using a Bobcat forklift to initiate the roll.
Dave Stafford joined the staff of the Indiana Lawyer as a reporter in May 2012 and was named editor in October 2017. An award-winning print journalist for more than 30 years, Stafford has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers including the Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Indiana, the News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Times-Dispatch in Richmond, Virginia. He and his wife, Denise, live in their hometown, Indianapolis.