Enterprise to Pay $15 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Nearly six years after the deaths of sisters Jackie and Raechel Houck in a traffic accident, an Alameda County, Calif., jury awarded their parents $15 million on June 9 in a lawsuit against Enterprise Rent A Car.

The two women died in a head-on traffic collision with an 18-wheeler on the 101 north highway near King City, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2004.

In the lawsuit, Enterprise claimed the deaths were the result of Raechel's bad or negligent driving.

However, the Houcks' defense lawyer, Larry Grassini, said the rental car company's Capitola, Calif., branch was negligent in handling a vehicle safety recall of a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was rented to the two women.

According to the lawsuit, the branch was notified a month before that the vehicle had a safety recall. The repair, which required the replacement of a power steering hose that could leak and ignite on a catalytic converter, causing a fire under the hood, was never made.


  1. david raucher [ June 23, 2010 @ 12:40PM ]

    Shows the importance of vehicle maintenance. Rather than ground the vehicle for a day and get the repair done for free at the dealer, they have to pay 15 million dollars

  2. mike [ June 24, 2010 @ 09:27AM ]

    How did this contribute to this accident? Did the power steering system fail? Was the car on fire prior to the collision?

  3. Kelly Tucker [ March 22, 2012 @ 07:26AM ]

    I too was driving an Enterprise rental car with two VIN number specific recalls on the seat belts and the airbags. I am left with damages for life to my brain and heart, not including injuries my son sustained by has recovered knowing surgery is in his future. We are still fighting this and the company even had the nerve to say I wasn't driving the car! So the car was wrecked and then I automatically started having seizures and heart problems? What about the fractured bones in my back or shifted disks? They use anything they can to keep from taking responsibility!!!

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

What a Connected Fleet Means to Avis (and Car Rental)

Counter bypass is just the beginning. The promise of a “data-driven ecosystem” that connects renters with the rental agency, retail services, and even the city is a better managed fleet, an improved user experience, and new revenue opportunities during the rental itself.

Should Peer-to-Peer Renters Pay Airport Car Rental Fees?

The question is central to the City of San Francisco’s lawsuit against Turo for operating without a permit at San Francisco International Airport.

Hard Times Ahead for the Compact SUV Segment?

The hottest segment today is facing a glut of models and volume in tomorrow’s wholesale market.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.