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Parents sue Hyundai over Lake Co. crash that killed teens

By Paige Sedgewick, Reporter, psedgewick@kcfw.com
Published On: Apr 28 2014 10:21:15 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 28 2014 10:38:01 PM MDT
POLSON, Mont. -

A Missoula family is taking automaker Hyundai to court for a car crash on Highway 93 that killed two teens on July 2, 2011.

The car involved, a 2005 Hyundai Tiburon, swerved into oncoming traffic.

It was a long first day at court. Everyone arrived at the courthouse at 9 a.m. and spent the whole morning and much of the afternoon with jury selection. Once the jurors were chosen the plaintiff and defense had the opportunity to present opening arguments to the court.

"Tanner and Trevor Olson cousins, Trevor - 19, Tanner - 14, died because a 2005 Hyundai Tiburon that Trevor owned and was driving to his uncle Jay's cabin on the evening of July 2, 2011, suffered a catastrophic failure of the right front steering knuckle," said attorney John E. Bohyer.  

The parents' lawyers say the steering knuckle in Trevor’s car broke and caused the accident. The attorneys claim there were two prior fractures, and a third cost the boys their lives.

Stephanie Parker-Shepard, 21, was also killed, and her husband and two young children were injured, when the Hyundai hit their vehicle.

The defense insists distracted driving caused the accident -- that the boys were allegedly lighting fireworks in the car.

"Mr. Bill Schnick says, 'Absolutely, fireworks went off in this car between the time they were bought at the firework stand and between the time that this crash occurred,'" explained David Prichard, the defense attorney.  

Witnesses will take the stand when the trial continues Tuesday.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Tuesday the court will hear from Trevor Olson’s girlfriend and an eyewitness at the scene.