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Family Calls $2.3 Million Judgment For Fatal Wreck a Hollow Victory

September 6, 1991

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) _ A $2.3 million judgment against a car dealer who sold a faulty used car to a teen-ager minutes before she died in a collision is a hollow victory for her parents, the family’s lawyer said.

″No amount of money can make up for the loss of their daughter,″ said attorney Tony Wilde, whose firm represented Elvia Ponce’s family.

Ponce was 16 when she drove out of Michael’s Auto Sales in 1989 after buying a used car there. Moments later her car swerved into oncoming traffic and she was killed. Her 12-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister were seriously injured in the crash.

The family sued the dealer, claiming the car was not properly inspected or repaired and had been illegally altered. The two front tires were mismatched and underinflated and the steering was faulty, they said.

The judgment announced Thursday by the family’s lawyers may be meaningless because the dealer’s insurance company says it doesn’t have the money.

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