Firestone's Tire Crisis

The company recalls 6.5 million of its most widely used tires. Did it act fast enough?

One sizzling day last summer, Mabel and Rafael Valdes packed their two daughters and Mabel's grandmother into the family's Ford Explorer and headed down Highway I-75 for the 2-hr. drive from Coral Gables to Naples, Fla. But on the way, according to Mabel and her attorney, the tread tore loose--"like peeling a banana," says Mabel--from one of the Explorer's rear Firestone tires, causing the sport-utility vehicle to spin out of control, slam into a guardrail and flip over. The accident badly injured Valdes and her family and left her grandmother dead.

It was thus with a sense of relief mixed with...

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