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Oregon woman reaches settlement with General Motors

January 16, 1997

BEND, Ore. (AP) _ An Oregon grandmother who nearly burned to death in a 1994 crash involving a General Motors Corp. pickup equipped with sidesaddle gas tanks said Thursday she had settled her $250 million lawsuit against GM.

Anne Kirkwood, 68, of Madras, and her lawyers are barred from disclosing how much the automaker agreed to pay. Kirkwood’s 10-year-old granddaughter died in the fiery accident.

The controversial sidesaddle gas tanks were used in the Chevy C/K from 1973 to 1987. Lawsuits across the country have blamed the gas tank design for anywhere from 120 to 1,000 deaths.

On Aug. 14th, 1994, Kirkwood’s car collided with a Chevy C/K pickup on U.S. Highway 97 near Redmond in rural central Oregon. The side tanks on the pickup exploded in flames, sending a fireball through Kirkwood’s car.

Two men who witnessed the crash pried the car door open with a tire iron and cut Kirkwood out of her seat belt with a dull pocket knife, saving her and her 6-year-old grandson. Kirkwood said the boy continues to recover.

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