It is with mixed emotions that we share this particular video, which stars two young boys who lost their mother, Nicole Miller, in 2004 after the Ford Explorer she was riding in blew a tire and rolled, causing her fatal injuries.

A sad story indeed, and we're quite certain everyone involved wishes that Mrs. Miller were still alive and that her boys would not have had a reason compelling them to make the tribute video in the first place. Certainly, the powers-that-be at the automaker hate seeing the Blue Oval's name brought up again in connection to older Explorers and the well-known lawsuits lodged against it after a number of owners reported rollover accidents.

While acknowledging the tragic loss of life, it's important to remember that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated the Ford Explorer and found it just as safe – or just as dangerous, as the case may be – as any other sport utility vehicle of the same era, which, importantly, was before stability control had hit the market in real numbers (and long before it became federally mandated, which was only recently). Independent tests were also carried out, none of which found the Ford Explorer to be particularly unsafe. Vehicles with high ground clearance and four-wheel drive are often afflicted with a higher center of gravity, making them easier to roll than passenger cars that sit closer to the ground.

For what it's worth, Firestone did recall 14.4 million tires starting in August, 2000 after Ford and Firestone negotiated a very contentious agreement between the two companies, including the ones fitted as standard equipment on many Ford Explorers built between 1991 and 2000, due to "a safety-related defect" (read: tread separation). Ford later agreed to replace 13 million tires mostly on Explorers that weren't covered by the original recall. But it isn't Firestone that the Miller boys' video targets, it's the Ford Motor Company.

In response to a query from The Huffington Post, Ford spokesperson Marcey Evans said that the automaker was "familiar with this tragic accident and our sympathy goes out to the family involved." Evans added, "We believe it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time as the family has brought a lawsuit against Ford, which is coming up for trial later this year."

In any case, we've included Ryan and Gregory's video after the break. It's a heartstring tugger that sets new lyrics to Vanessa Carlton's hit song A Thousand Miles. It is worth noting again here that the kids' assertions that Ford should recall all the remaining Explorers from that era are understandably emotionally driven. What the kids know about the cause of the accident is probably supplied by the family lawyers. Still, grab the tissues and Ford should hope the jurors never see it.

Editor's note: Some additional reporting concerning the recall of Firestone tires was added to this story after its original posting.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 245 Comments
      Saint Zero
      • 2 Years Ago
      "We believe it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time as the family has brought a lawsuit against Ford, which is coming up for trial later this year." There ya go. Stir up sympathy and public opinion in your favor ahead of time. I hate to sound cynical, but do these kids know they're likely being used in a most callous manner?
      pwr2lbs
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not so sure its Fords Fault!!! Ive worked as an auto repair mechanic my entire life and can tell you its rare to see people driving on proper tire pressures. TPMS systems should help, but really people check your tire pressures at least once every two weeks, most shops will do it for free, its quick, easy and the responsible motorist thing to do.
        Dark Gnat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pwr2lbs
        But should they go my Ford's recommendations, or the tire manufacturer's recommendations? Ford said 26psi. Firestone said 35psi Firestone made the tires to Ford's specs, but Ford blames the rollovers on Firestone.
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      really sad that this happened to them. they must know some professional video editor types, such high production values!..... I wonder if this goes viral, if that will help them secure a larger settlement........
        digitalrefuse
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        I think professionally produced appeals to sympathy probably don't play well on court... I'd be surprised if it didn't *hurt* them.
          lorenzo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @digitalrefuse
          yea, I guess that is what I am implying.....didn't want to come out and say it because this is a tragedy - but this video feels a little like......well, something the kids didn't make.
      scriber72
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope we can all agree on one real danger to modern society - autotune.
      Phil
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm with the other 95% here. Stupid decision to put this out there. It is very sad that the boys lost their mother, and I don't blame them for putting this video together, but to blame Ford truly is wrong. I owned a '97 Explorer when the recall was in progress, and received a new set of "safer" tires at no charge, but at no time did I even remotely think my"deathtrap" Firestone tires that were previously on the car were unsafe. Why? because I kept the pressure where it was supposed to be!
        bcsaxman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Phil
        Those Firestones weren't world-beating tires (what Firestones have been since the 1960s??), but tere was nothing inherently dangerous with them, so long as they weren't used for heavy off road use and the tire pressures kept within their design specs. It was the latter that Ford (and maybe Firestone) compromised in the name of a softer ride, and that in turn compromised the safety of the vehicle. Those "safer tires" you got were more robustly built, as true heavy duty/off road tires are, but they were also not sent out the door by Ford with lower than normal air pressures either. If these kids lost a mom who was probably to young to remember anything about this when it happened, and was doing nothing more than driving her vehicle the way the door tag & manual told her to, I can't fault her for what happened. Or them for calling out Ford on something they never should have done in the first place.
      dinobot666
      • 2 Years Ago
      The '90s were a booming time for SUV sales. Everybody was going for the cash grab on these pickup trucks with carpeted beds and everybody wanted to drive one, even people who probably didn't really need one. There is, or was a significant learning curve to driving vehicles like this, especially before SUVs were toned down and driving nannies became standard fare. To say it in another way, people who were used to driving passenger cars were suddenly driving crude trucks with poor handling characteristics. A simple flat tire in a Chevy Impala might put you sideways if you put your foot to the floor on the stop pedal as a reaction. The result of slamming on the brakes in an SUV during a tread separation or tire blow out will most likely put you on your roof, depending on how many times you roll over first. Roofs on these SUVs were paper thin back then and not designed for occupant safety. It was a recipe ripe for causing a lot of injuries and death.
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      The last two commentators wrote great summaries of the problem. There was culpability all around. But there was another contributing factor: many of the new-to-SUV-and-truck drivers also did not maintain their tires, so the pressures may have been well below 26 psi. Then add to that a high speed run (much too high for that type of vehicle; after all, it's not a BMW or Corvette), on a hot Southern interstate when the temperature was 95 deg. F., and you had a disaster waiting to happen. Sad to say, I think the users were a big part of the problem. (Much like the Toyota "unintended" acceleration.)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BG
        [blocked]
          WillieD
          • 2 Years Ago
          Not sure what relevance your comment really has to anything. The Explorer is (was) an SUV and it uses light truck tires, not low profile tires. The second gen didn't have a TPMS, either. The average person probably doesn't even know how to inflate their tires, and I doubt this woman was any different.
          EXP Jawa
          • 2 Years Ago
          In all reality, Urchin, I think he's right - most people know very little about how to properly maintain their vehicles. Tire pressure adjustment falls into that. How is saying that idiotic? Most people that don't know don't have the interest to learn, or don't know they can learn it. Or, I suppose, simply aren't taught by whomever alledgely taught them to use a car, and they didn't know to ask the questions. These people consider their cars to be an appliance - it functions properly to the job they require of it, just like their dishwasher. When there is a problem, they call in a repairman. If it has a problem that isn't obvious, they don't know to address it.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      digitalrefuse
      • 2 Years Ago
      So... I wonder how close this comes to libel - especially since the family of these children are currently in litigation against Ford. I'm not saying I have no sympathy for what these children are going through, but this video outright states they want people to stop driving Ford Explorers because they could die.
      vince
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is a test done by car and driver, the purposely blew out the tires on old explorers to see if they would loose control, and they didn't. http://www.caranddriver.com/columns/why-are-ford-explorers-crashing
        Emilio
        • 2 Years Ago
        @vince
        Cause they were expecting it. Besides, I'm sure an expert was behind the wheel.
          slap
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Emilio
          Looks like you didn't read the article
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Emilio
          You definitely didn't read the article, guy. They did NOT know when it was going to happen.
      Ian Moore
      • 2 Years Ago
      I own a 93 Explorer, and I did lose a tire on it at 75mph. Mine didn't roll, nobody died, because I was focused on driving it. I feel for these kids, but I don't know what daddy hopes to gain other than likely proving in court that mommy was not a particularly attentive driver.
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      however unfortunately their loss is.. .... American's believe that buying a SUV is a safe choice... all that metal.. plus it's a truck.. of course it's safe... Surprise.. that high center of gravity that elevates you and give you good visibility....makes them more prone to rolling over. Simple fact. Perhaps if she was driving a car or a station wagon this unfortunate event would have been prevented..
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        All of those are simple facts IF you are stuck in the late 90s and early 00s. New SUVs today are built to prevent something like this from happening. They have wider tracks while also have technology that kicks in when the computer senses a serious increase in weight being transferred to one side of the vehicle.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          I'm sorry is there something wrong with pointing out the fact that the IIHS found that new SUVs are safer than cars? The IIHS goes above and beyond crash tests. They gather data from every reported accident in the country and determine the releative chance of being involved in an accident and the chance of being killed in an accident and they found that modern SUVs are safer than cars. Sorry that conflicts with your views.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Yes, but with the advanced stability and rollover prevention systems the larger structure of an SUV makes them safer than cars now. The IIHS just published the data late last year.
          PatrickH
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          And guess what, they're still MORE prone to rollover than an equivalently sized car. You can't fight physics Elmo. Go back to studying Newton's laws.
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