“Drunk driver sues truck maker”

By reader acclaim: an FBI agent who was pulled unconscious from his burning truck with blood alcohol level of 0.306, and subsequently pleaded guilty to drunken driving, “has sued the maker of his pickup because it caught fire after he passed out behind the wheel.” The lawsuit, against General Motors and dealership Bill Heard Chevrolet, says Clymer “somehow lost consciousness” — possibly the empty bottle of Captain Morgan Rum found on the passenger seat had something to do with that? — and that while he lay there with the engine running the 2004 Chevy Silverado “somehow” began to give off smoke from some sort of combustion, which may or may not be code for “theory to be filled in later”.

At sentencing in November — he drew a suspended 30-day jail term and 48 hours community service — “Clymer’s lawyer said his client wanted to take responsibility for his actions.” (Brian Haynes, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Apr. 14).


  • Obviously this guy is a mess and a menace, but why did the truck catch on fire? There’s no suggestion that he was smoking when he passed out, or that he parked in high grass (this was in Vegas, after all). Wouldn’t he potentially be able to get to a jury on a res ipsa loquitur theory, with the burden on the manufacturer to prove that the fire was somehow the result of driver error?

  • It would appear that the incident was likely related to th divorce filing from his wife (go out, get plastered, consider suicide), which COULD indicate that this sort of thing is very much non-standard behaviour for the man (note the word COULD).

    Still, it would be nice if they had a theory as to how the truck caught fire…