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Statement of Dr. Gordon Sudduth

Statement of Dr. Gordon Sudduth
The Woodlands, Texas
April 19, 2004

Hello, I am Gordon Sudduth. I am here today because I think there should be a way to stop auto manufacturers from hiding research and producing vehicles they know are unsafe, aside from lawsuits.

On March 22, 2001, my daughter Kacy, who is now 22, was returning to Baylor University where she was a freshman. She came home to attend the funeral of a favorite teacher. Kacy swerved her 2000 Ford Explorer to avoid a cow in the road and that’s when the vehicle rolled over, landing 500 feet away in a ditch with its roof crushed in on top of her. She was wearing her seat belt, but it failed to prevent the severe injuries she received.

Kacy broke her neck, her leg and her foot and suffered a severe head injury. She now deals with chronic back and neck pain every day and wears a patch to prevent vomiting, a result of the head injury.

Kacy had one dream her whole life and that was to become a surgeon. Now, she can’t physically go to med school. To watch her struggle and lose her dream is heartwrenching.

I promised her if she received a certain number of scholarships, she could have the vehicle she wanted. She achieved that goal and finished first in her class, so I had to uphold my end of the bargain. When deciding to buy the Ford Explorer, I watched the president of the Ford Motor Company appear on television to reassure customers after the Ford/Firestone controversy that each member of his family drives a Ford Explorer. I couldn’t believe this guy would go on T.V. and say these things if he didn’t mean it.

It’s time for auto manufacturers to do the right thing by making their vehicles more crash- worthy and if they refuse, then it’s up to Congress to force them.