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Teen Killed in Honda Odyssey When Pinned to Back of Vehicle

Wednesday, June 20, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

A teen killed in Cincinnati, Ohio after becoming pinned under the rear bench of a Honda Odyssey is sparking concern about the operating mechanism in the manufacturer’s second-row seats. The incident occurred when the passenger was attempting to retrieve his tennis gear from the back of the minivan. Despite several attempts to seek emergency help, the teen died of asphyxiation due to chest compression according to the coroner’s office. This tragedy has prompted an investigation into how a teenager could become trapped and suffocate in a minivan’s seat.

The Third-Row Seating Mechanism

The Honda Odyssey offers a third row for passengers that folds down to free up space in the storage area of the vehicle. When the teen leaned into the seat, investigators concluded that the back seat fell backward pinning him between the seat and the hatch. The teen suffocated as a result of the force of the motion coupled with the weight of the seat. Honda stated that when the seat is repositioned into either an upright or folded position, the rear latch may fail to attach properly to the correct position. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a statement that they are seeking information from local authorities in Cincinnati and Honda Motor Co. related to the accident to determine whether there could be a defect in all Odysseys with third-row seats.  

Previous Recalls for Seat Related Issues

The 2004 Honda Odyssey at the center of this tragedy has not been subject to a recall for a faulty seat latch. In November, Honda recalled approximately 900,000 Odyssey minivans model years 2011-2017 for second row seat defects. Honda reported that the seats could tip forward if not locked by a latch after adjusting the seats or installing a seat that was removed. The company received 46 reports of injuries related to improperly latched seats in those car models.

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