PAYSON, Ariz. - An Arizona family is speaking out about a horrific crash that claimed the life of their 17-year-old daughter.
While no one knows for sure what caused the accident, the the investigators at our sister station in Phoenix, KNXV ABC15, uncovered a risk most owners would never see and that could be hiding in countless other cars.
DEADLY JANUARY CRASH
Seventeen-year-old Saige Bloom was driving when she lost control of her vehicle on a Payson, Arizona, roadway.
Her mother was following behind her and desperately called 911 looking for help.
"She cannot stop. We're coming up to a red light and I don't know what to do for her," the mother frantically told the dispatcher.
Shortly after that call, Saige hit another car and rolled three times. Hours later, Saige died of her injuries in a hospital bed.
That was in January. Now, the ABC15 Investigators have discovered new information about the model of car Saige was driving when she lost control -- information involving repair instructions sent to dealers, but not owners.
It raises the question that tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of cars on the road could have had an incorrect repair, including the car Saige was driving.
BASKETBALL, CHURCH AND FAMILY
Ryan Bloom beams as he talks about his daughter Saige. It's been just a few months since she died.
"I just sit and think, I wish I could see her again," Bloom said.
Ryan and his wife Jamie have three kids; Saige was their oldest.
Bloom said his daughter loved going to church and to her youth group. She cared for people, he said, especially her family. Saige was a star on the Payson High basketball team and Bloom remembers her talking about going to prom in the spring.
After graduation, she wanted to enroll at Northern Arizona University and was looking for a car that could handle the snow.
Since her grandmother offered to buy, Saige searched and quickly found her car: a white 2002 Ford Escape.
Her dad checked it out and OK'ed the car.
"She was like thank you daddy, thank you, thank you." Bloom pauses as tears fill his eyes. "That kind of hurts, you know?"
SAIGE'S FIRST AND LAST DRIVE
On January 27, Saige was driving her new Escape to her home in Payson for the first time. She was following her mother as they drove north.
But near Payson, something went terribly wrong.
"Oh my God, my God, what do I do with her?" Jamie Bloom asked when she called 911 for help.
She was watching as Saige drove ahead of her, speeding through town. The haunting 911 tapes reveal what happened next.
"She was pushing on the brakes. I can smell it burning and she cannot stop," her mother told the dispatcher on the other end of the line.
"Oh my God! She's in a wreck! She's in a wreck!"
Police reports show Saige was traveling at high speeds through a busy area of Payson. She was weaving in and out of traffic, according to the reports.
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Jamie called her husband.
"I didn't expect the blood curdling screams over the phone," Bloom remembered. "Jaime was freaking out."
Ryan immediately got in his car and drove toward the crash.
"You know, when time stops and you just say 'God let her be OK,'" Bloom said. "That's what I kept telling myself the whole time."
Police reports say Saige's SUV was weaving through traffic at rush hour that day.
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After clearing the intersection of highways 87 and 260 and "narrowly [passing] through traffic" at the next intersection, police reports show the Escape hit a grey sedan and flipped three times.
Saige was ejected from the car, where she lie on the street, bleeding and "struggling to breathe," the report said, until emergency crews took her to the hospital where she died.
THE POLICE INVESTIGATION
Payson police took the ABC15 Investigators to the Escape impounded in their lot, three months after the accident.
The SUV sits in a corner, much of it in pieces. It will be covered with a tarp until tests are completed and the Escape can be released to the family and to the automaker, Ford Motor Company.
Police reports show the car's accelerator was "all the way down to the floor," when the car was inspected after the accident.
Officers also found that the console next to the accelerator pedal had "scratch marks in the plastic," that would "be consistent without someone slamming their foot on the gas pedal," the report said.
The report further states that Saige "had Nike tennis shoes on" and that she must have "used some force to create those marks."
The Blooms' attorney Bob Boatman believes Saige was, "kicking the pedal trying to dislodge it in her mind."
The family is considering filing a lawsuit against Ford.
THE ABC15 INVESTIGATORS: SAFETY RECALL AND QUESTIONS ABOUT THE REPAIR
Ford won't comment specifically about Saige's accident, and until the car is released and inspected, no one knows what caused it.