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.
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.