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Hyundai trial continues into day 5 in Polson

By Adam Caira, Photographer/Reporter, acaira@kcfw.com
Published On: May 02 2014 07:11:06 PM MDT
Updated On: May 02 2014 09:06:40 PM MDT
Binders filled with Hyundai warranty claims

Dr. William Gleason handles binders filled with Hyundai warranty claims

POLSON, Mont. -

We have the latest from the Lake County trial to determine if Hyundai is responsible for a 2011 accident that killed three people including Trevor and Tanner Olson

The Olsons were driving a Hyundai Tiburon that swerved into oncoming traffic.

University of Montana Professor of Metallurgy Dr. William Gleason took the stand for the second day in a row.

The plaintiffs began introducing records for more than 300 Hyundai warranty claims where the steering knuckle was replaced. In each of the claims problems were reported like abnormal wear, flaws in material, deformity, and even cracks.

Gleason testified that each of the claims represents a problem similar to the manufacturing defects in Trevor Olson’s Hyundai.

“In my opinion, my professional opinion, and I’m extremely confident, is that, that knuckle had some type of failure associated with fatigue and was bad enough that a mechanic could notice it and replace the knuckle,” said Gleason.

Mechanical Engineer and Accident Reconstructionist Mark Erickson testified Friday afternoon from Oregon via video conference.

Erickson offered evidence that the driver’s window, the passenger’s window, and the sunroof were all closed on Tanner Olson’s Hyundai at the time of the accident.

On cross examination he stated that he was unable to determine if the sunroof had been tilted up in the back prior to the accident.

The position of the windows is important to the case as the court tries to determine if Trevor and Tanner Olson were setting off fireworks at the time of the accident.

“When the sunroof was lifted upward during the accident it was in the fully closed, forward position. There’s no way for this pin to come out of the track if the sunroof was moved backward, it had to be up near the front where there’s an opening now,” said Erickson.

The trial continues on Monday with the cross examination of Gleason.

The defense also still plans to stage a reconstruction of the accident scene with the Olsons' Tiburon and the Pontiac it collided with.