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.