Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"You have officers who survive the trauma of a crash, but they die by fire and that should never happen,"

Clarence Ditlow, president of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C., group focused on the U.S. automotive industry



“I know what a lot of people think,” he says. “They look at my face and think, ‘Oh, I couldn’t live like that.’ "

"I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be saved that night either, had I been awake and conscious."

10/15/13  E-mail from Crown-Vic fire survivor, Jason Schechterle, Phoenix, AZ former police officer responds to my plea for a dialog. Jason apparently has an appreciation for the partition knocking him out.

Hi Steve,

Thank you for the email. I'm not sure I'm the right person to dialogue about your concerns over partitions.

Mercifully, I was knocked unconscious after my collision and didn't have to suffer the fear and panic of being engulfed in flames.

I'm not sure if it was the partition or the impact that caused me to lose consciousness, but regardless I only suffered a mild concussion from that.

My activism for the past 12 years has been on rear end fuel fed fires and improving the safety there. I appreciate your efforts to further safety in police cars and again, thank you for reaching out.

Sincerely,

Jason Schechterle

Jason,

Thank you so much for taking the time for me. I have known of your case from the start and have been very apprehensive about contacting you out of regard for your healthy state of mind. You have surprised and amazed me. I would feel very bad if you misunderstood me. 

Great strides have been accomplished by you and others in enhancing safety from fuel-fed fires. 

I am moved by the case of Ellen Engelhardt, Massachusetts State Trooper,in addition to yours. She clearly suffered primarily from partition to head impact in a high speed rear end collision with no fire. 70 officers have died in fires, largely because they have been rendered unconscious and remain in the burning vehicle. Your case is one that demonstrates that failing to get out is critical. 

While your head injury was no where near as severe as Ellen Engelhardts' head injury, it was severe enough for you that you lost consciousness and surely would not have survived had it not been for people extracting you. Fires are bad... but remaining in a burning vehicle is even worse. Would you not agree?

I believe that the partitions are made in a sub-standard manner and I know that they are not certified to be in compliance with applicable federal law. There should be better, safer, legal partitions in these cruisers. I would like to provide them. The need for better compliance has to be demonstrated though, before I see any demand for my design.

A number of years ago the USDOT issued letters of warning, to some partition manufacturers, explaining that federal standards are not optional.

Please share your thoughts.

Thank you,

Steve Crowell


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