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Old 06-06-2000, 10:36 AM   #1
spencerb
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Default Saturn Prototype Wrecks

Here's a news article from today:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) - A Saturn test car with right-hand steering crashed into a pickup during a road test, critically injuring two company engineers.
The car was westbound near Saturn's production plant in Spring Hill when it crossed the center line Monday and collided with a Dodge pickup truck, State Trooper Michael Jolley said.

The driver of the Saturn, company engineer Alfred Soulliere, and passenger Mark Goften, also an engineer, were in critical condition Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a spokesman said.

The truck's driver, Joe W. King, was treated and released from Williamson Medical Center.

Sue Mallino, vice president of communications at Saturn headquarters in Detroit, said the cause of the accident was under investigation and she couldn't give details. "Our primary concern is for the two engineers involved and for their families," she said.

It was not clear what model was being tested.

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Old 06-06-2000, 11:18 AM   #2
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Is there a place that we can send 'get well' cards?

More information can be found at The Tennessean's website:
http://www.tennessean.com/sii/00/06/06/saturn06.shtml

It's sad to see that the driver of the Dodge wasn't wearing a seat belt and probably escaped with lesser injuries. I'm guessing that the Dodge drove on top of the test car and that's why it took 40 minutes to extricate.... but that's my unsupported theory.
-Wei

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Old 06-06-2000, 11:46 AM   #3
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A 'right hand drive' Saturn?

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Old 06-06-2000, 11:53 AM   #4
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First of all, hearts and prayers out to the families of those involved in the accident.

Second, Why oh why does the press still "pick on" Saturn. I mean this made it to the AP for goodness sake. If this was a Ford problem, you may read about it in the Detroit Free Press, but the AP, come on. What does the news media have against Saturn. Doesn't Saturn's daddy(GM) fill up the politicians coffers? That seems to work for the other car companies. I mean really folks, isn't Saturn an American car still. Do we see that much negative press about Hyundai, Kia and the others. Enough of my ranting. It just torques me off.

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Old 06-06-2000, 01:17 PM   #5
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Hope everyone gets well ASAP.

Wonder if the driver of the saturn was from a country where drivers keep to the left. When people move from one style to another (eg: US to UK or vice-versa), there's a very strong chance that an instinctive reaction may cause the driver to cross the centerline.

Always wonder why people are allowed to drive in countries with opposite rules withour a required familiarization with an instructor.

Was almost hit head on by someone from Japan in Los Angeles when they instinctively moved across to the left.

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Old 06-06-2000, 03:34 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how the AP accepts articles, but I imagine that its members submit news to AP which are then for other members to 'rebroadcast'. AP has quite a few members in TN. If that's the case, any TN newspaper could have submitted it to AP. Take it however you like, I have not seen this news in the Washington Post or NY Times yet.

Disclaimer: The following is not intented to belittle the victims in the accident.

I do find it interesting that they were testing a right-hand drive vehicle. Could it possibly have been a right-hand drive L-series? Saturn of Japan does not yet have an L-series.

If any good is to come out of this, the Saturn engineers will now have a wreck to analyze. To see where the frame needs reinforcing. A safer Saturn will hopefully come out of this.
-Wei

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Old 06-06-2000, 03:54 PM   #7
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Bad news indeed.

The article from the Tennessean was a bit sketchy. I believe both engineers were listed as being from Michigan. We certainly don't know what sort of driving background was involved, only that it was a right hand drive "test car". It did say that both occupants of the Saturn were wearing seatbelts, and that the driver of the pickup was not. It also said that the car was part of a "convoy" of sorts. The accident apparently happened at about 3:00pm, so darkness might be ruled out as any sort of contributing factor.

Let's all hope that the injured are able to recover...

the HumpMan

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Old 06-06-2000, 04:28 PM   #8
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F.Y.I.

I just read an article which states that the vehicle involved in the collision was a right hand drive 2001 S-series wagon.

The wagon is sold to the U.S. postal service and to Japan where right hand drive is required.

Both engieneers were wearing seatbelts and their airbags deployed in the crash.

It seems that the wagon crossed over the line while manouvering around a sharp bend....police expect that the vehicle was travelling slightly higher than the 40max but will not be laying any charges.

Let's hope for a speedy recovery!

stu

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Old 06-06-2000, 11:22 PM   #9
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I've posted the latest information I've gotten about this story here:

<a href="http://www.saturnfans.com/news/2000-06-07-wreck.html" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://www.saturnfans.com/news/2000-06-07-wreck.html</a><!--auto-->

Let's keep them in our prayers and hope they recover quickly.

Thanks,
Charlie

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Old 06-06-2000, 11:29 PM   #10
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That really is terrible news. Great hopes that those two guys will recovery well and quickly.

This just shows how big trucks and SUV's can really destroy a small car. Two days ago, a friend of mine, who drives a 99 Corolla, had a full-size pick-up truck plow into the front fender of his car, near the A-pillar. Fortunately, my friend left the scene without a scratch. The truck had a slightly dented bumper, while the Corolla was...well...utter destruction.

Gotta be careful out there folks. Best hopes to the engineers and their families.

Acevedo 97sl2

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Old 06-07-2000, 01:15 AM   #11
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My thoughts and prayers are with these two gentelmen and their families. Thank God that no one else was hurt and I pray that they have a speedy recovery.

Al

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Old 06-07-2000, 06:38 AM   #12
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hi guys, i think i have a little expreince with both the a.p. and right hand drive vehicles.
a.p. doesnt try to bash saturn or anyone, i had an article written about me in the business section of a local newspaper years back, i went on vacation and when i came back to my suprise it made its way to damn near every paper in the country, when the a.p. picks something up it stays in their database for quite some time, whenever a newspaper finds the story interesting or needs to fill space they pick an a.p. article to do so.
i still own a 1973 right hand drive vehicle, its a 240z from okinawa japan, driving it is kinda weird, espicially for the passenger, the passenger's (in america anyway) feel unusual not being in control with the oncoming traffic coming at them instead of the driver.
also you have blind spots your not used to in a left hand drive car.
postal jeeps should always use utmost cuation when on public american roads as the rest of the country is oblivious as to how it feels to drive on the right and the blind spots it create's.
if there was no tickets issued were all just speculating as to who's fault it is at this time.
and lets not beat up the pick-up truck driver either, p/u's were around long before this suv craze took off and these truck to car accidents are inevitable, it happens.
i do hope for a speedy recovery for the techs though.

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Old 06-07-2000, 06:12 PM   #13
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UPDATE: I heard this afternoon that the two engineers are still hospitalized in critical condition, but they are expected to recover.

Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Thanks,
Charlie

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Old 06-08-2000, 07:05 AM   #14
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we most certainly will.
from the crew at saturn services.

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