Jeep Owner Sued after Employee Dies During Oil Change

May 9, 2022

42-year-old Jeffrey Hawkins died during a tragic accident at the Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership in Michigan when his co-worker attempted to change the oil in a customer's Jeep. 

May 9, 2022—In March of 2020, a man took his Jeep in to the Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership in Michigan to get his oil changed. Then, in a strange twist of fate, he got sued. 

According to Fox 2 Detroit, during a 19-year-old mechanic's attempt to change the car's oil he started the Jeep and removed his foot from the clutch. This resulted in the car jumping forward suddenly and instantly killing  42-year-old employee Jeffrey Hawkins.

The 19-year-old did not know how to drive a stick shift, and he didn't have a license. 

Attorney David Femminineo, who is representing the Hawkins family, says that a legal standard prevents a lawsuit against the dealership. What happened at the dealership involved two employees, and the standard makes it so that you cannot sue the boss in that situation. 

Femminineo is instead opting to sue the owner of the Jeep, even though he was not directly involved in the tragic accident. Femminineo claims that in this case, the owner is the one responsible.

The vehicle's owner commented that he plans on fighting this case in a trial at the end of May.

"When you hand your car over to anybody including the valet or the person at the service desk at your local dealership, you better be able to trust that person," said Femminineo, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

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Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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