The 18-year-old all-state cheerleader was just picking up her little brother from football practice when she got into a fender bender in the parking lot – a minor accident that is almost a rite of passage for thousands of teenagers every year. But this crash was different, because this car had a defective Takata airbag. It exploded violently, sending piercing metal shrapnel everywhere. One of those shards sliced her neck, and she was dead within minutes.
Her name is Ashley Parham, and she was the first fatality of the defective Takata airbag. When she was killed, Ashley had just graduated from high school. She had dreamed of being a teacher.
If the story of her death is gruesome to read, think of how painful it was for her family to experience. And then think of how they felt when they learned that executives at the company that manufactured the airbag in their car – the airbag that killed their daughter – knew about the defect years earlier.
Sometimes fraud can seem to be a technical violation, but this fraud concealed product defects that killed people.
Ashley is one of eleven people who have died as a result of Takata’s defective product. Nearly two hundred others have been injured – wounding limbs, suffering terrible facial lacerations, or losing their sight.