Wisconsin Woman Gets Trapped and Dies in Burning SUV with Locked Doors
A 73-year-old Wisconsin woman recently died after her SUV's electric system malfunctions and the doors wouldn't unlock, trapping her inside the burning car.
A Fatal Electrical Fail
This story is the stuff driving nightmares are made of.
On December 9, 2022, Mary Frahm of McFarland, Wisconsin was driving along Highway AB in the town of Dunn, Wisconsin when her 2009 Dodge Journey began to malfunction and she was forced to pull over to the side of the road.
An article from the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier reports these mechanical failures were taking place as Frahm pulled over and called her fiance to make him aware of the problem;
the dashboard lights were flashing, the windshield wipers started up on their own, the speedometer was "going crazy" and the vehicle was losing power.
The article also says this was not the first time Frahm had experienced electrical issues during the four years she owned the 2009 Dodge Journey, but it was the first time she was unable to unlock the doors or roll down the windows...and then tragedy struck.
While Mary Frahm's fiance was en route to help her, he received another frantic call from Mary saying there was smoke coming from the car's dashboard and she was trapped inside.
Mary was able to call 9-1-1, but by the time emergency crews arrived the car was completely engulfed in flames with Mary still trapped inside. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Could This Tragedy Have Been Prevented?
Mary Frahm's fiance told officers at the scene that she took excellent care of her car, so maintenance issues were not the problem.
Investigations done by the Dane County Sheriff's Office revealed that this particular Dodge Journey model was NOT included in any recent Chrysler recalls, but that "the vehicle had a Totally Integrated Power Module, or TIPM, a part installed in some older Chrysler vehicles that has been in the crosshairs of an auto safety group and litigation but deemed safe by federal authorities" according to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier article.
Will the Frahm Family File a Lawsuit?
While a lawsuit has not officially been filed, Mary Frahm's family has hired a lawyer and other experts to investigate what happened to her car that day and to determine if any legal action should be taken.