Trial Opens Against General Motors Over Rollover Crash That Paralyzed Police Officer

Posted by Arlin Crisco on May 7, 2024 4:30:03 PM


Stock image. 

St. Louis, MO— Attorneys Monday debated the root cause of the injury that paralyzed a Missouri police officer in a 2016 rollover crash, as trial opened against General Motors. Tudor, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, 19SL-CC00951.

Craig Tudor, then a 37-year-old Hazelwood, Missouri police officer, was responding to a call for assistance when his 2012 Chevrolet Impala patrol vehicle was struck by another car and rolled over. Tudor and his wife claim that the Impala was defectively designed, with a weak roof that was crushed in the crash, breaking Tudor’s neck and paralyzing him from the chest down. 

During Monday’s openings, the Tudors’ attorney, Grant L. Davis, of Davis Bethune & Jones, told jurors evidence would show Tudor was injured when the vehicle’s roof was crushed into him. Davis added that GM knew as far back as 2008-09 that the roof on its Impala-model police vehicle was weak. But he said that, instead of rolling out a complete, next-generation design that would have drastically improved the 2012 model's roof strength, the company opted to employ alternative changes that did not adequately address critical weaknesses in the roof’s structure. 


“GM made a conscious decision not to give the 2012 Chevrolet Impala police patrol vehicle a new, good, strong roof,” Davis said, adding that evidence would show the decision was made for financial reasons. 

The Tudors are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages in the case, with The Simon Law Firm’s Amy Collignon Gunn telling jurors Monday that economic damages alone ran roughly $30 million, and evidence would show jurors could award "hundreds of millions of dollars."

But GM’s attorney, Dykema’s Michael Cooney, told jurors Monday that the Impala’s roof passed all applicable federal and consumer-organization safety standards, and that the crash was so severe there was no evidence any mass-production roof would have remained undamaged.

“This vehicle was involved in a severe crash,” Cooney said. “And good roofs can sustain damage in severe crashes.”

Cooney added that evidence would show Tudor was injured, not from the roof’s collapse, but from his head striking the interior of the vehicle's roof, sometimes called a “diving injury,” rendering the roof’s strength irrelevant.

“Officer Tudor could have been in a NASCAR-style, roll-cage [protected] car,” Cooney said, “and the injury would still happen.”

Trial is expected to last through next week. 

Email Arlin Crisco at

Related information

Watch the trial. 

Not a subscriber?

Learn how you can access an unrivaled trial video library.