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Dallas: Give Us The Crown Vitoria Results Or We Will Sue!

DALLAS December 23, 2002; The AP reports that following a police officer's death in a fiery crash, city officials want to get safety test results on Crown Victoria cruisers fitted with shields that protect the vehicle's gas tank.

Attorneys for the city of Dallas will sue Ford Motor Co. on Monday to obtain sworn testimony on the tests.

"We want information about the technology that they're testing right now. We know that they're testing alternative technology to see if these vehicles can be made safer," Dallas city attorney Madeleine Johnson said Friday.

The gas tank of the Crown Victoria is behind the rear axle, and can explode when the car is hit from the rear at a high speed.

On Thursday, a New York state trooper was killed when his Crown Victoria cruiser was hit from behind by an out-of-control sport utility vehicle. Both cars burst into flames.

Johnson said she had been trying for several weeks to get more information on the retrofitted Crown Victoria police cruisers.

"They're saying this information is confidential and they don't want to share this information with us right now," she said.

Ford officials did not immediately return telephone messages from The Associated Press early Saturday.

While Ford officials agreed to give access to vehicles used in crash tests, Johnson said she was told Friday that she would have to get specific safety information from the outcome of an Ohio class action lawsuit.

"I told them this is not soon enough -- this is a public safety issue," Johnson said.

Johnson said one test result released by Ford showed that a Crown Victoria with shields installed leaked more gas than is permitted by federal standards.

"We want to know why they think their vehicles are safe with these shields on," Johnson said.

Johnson also said Ford has been testing a bladder that can pla inside the gas tank to contain fuel when the tank is punctured.

Johnson said the bladder has been used in street racing vehicles, but wants to know why it has not been recommended for Crown Victorias.

Ford is paying to retrofit the 1,100.