Woman Killed After Dodge SUV Caught On Fire And Doors Locked, Trapping Her Inside Vehicle

The 73-year-old was an advocate for people with Downs syndrome in the Madison, Wisconsin area.

learn more about Gabrielle Bienasz

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Dane County Sheriff's Office
The 2009 Dodge Journey.

A 73-year-old woman was killed after being trapped in her 2009 Dodge Journey, according to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, an Illinois-based paper.

The incident took place in December.

The Wisconsin woman, Mary Frahm, who lived in McFarland, Wisconsin, had dropped off her son at work when her car began acting strangely.

She pulled over, but the car caught fire, and Frahm was trapped inside. Even before emergency services arrived, it was completely in flames, according to the Dane County Sherrif's Office report.

Frahm called her fiance and said the car was "acting up," (which it had before) per the police report. She said that the lights on the dashboard had begun to flash, the windshield wipers were moving, and the speedometer was "going crazy."

The windows wouldn't roll down, and she couldn't get out of the car. She then called her fiance again, who was driving to try and assist her, and said the car was smoking. She called 911, but she was pronounced dead on the side of Highway AB.

The TIPM part in her car has been related to one class action from 2014, which the company settled by recalling some cars from two models, of which her car was not a part, according to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.

But one advocate, The Center for Auto Safety, the outlet noted, asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) to look into it more and said it was not merited, including in the case of the part causing fires.

Michael Brooks of The Center for Auto Safety told the local outlet that while this kind of case was not something he had previously seen, it was "inevitable" that it "would happen."

The Sherrif's department, via Detective William Hendrickson, said that the TIPM "had a documented history of possibly shorting out or causing some sort of an electrical or mechanical abnormality with the vehicles."

Dodge is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which merged with Peugeot of PSA Group and joined global auto conglomerate Stellantis NV in 2021.

Her car had a Totally Integrated Power Module, or TIPM, which has been associated with a class action suit against the company, the outlet noted.

Stellantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment but told Insider it is "not aware of any similar cases."

"We extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Frahm," the company added to the outlet.

Frahm was a frequent volunteer in her community and an advocate for Down syndrome, which her son has, her sister told the outlet.

The Frahm family has retained the services of a lawyer.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Money & Finance

Revenue vs. Profit: What's the Difference?

The difference between revenue and profit is vital to understand in order to run a healthy business. Read on to learn all about these basic economic concepts.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

A Mississippi News Anchor Is Under Fire for Quoting Snoop Dogg

WLBT's Barbara Bassett used the rapper's "fo shizzle" phrase during a live broadcast, causing the station to let her go.

Money & Finance

What Is Market Cap? Here's a Comprehensive Explanation.

Read on to learn how to calculate market cap, explore the different categories and understand how it influences investment analysis.


Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take To Get There.

Author Joanne Lipman on what experience and science tell us about successful job pivots.