US jury orders Chrysler to pay $203 million over boy's death

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US jury ordered carmaker Chrysler on Thursday to pay US$150 million (S$203 million) to the family of a four-year-old boy who was killed when their Jeep exploded into flames, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Remington Walden was killed in March 2012 in the US state of Georgia when a car rear-ended the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was in, causing the fuel tank behind the car's rear axle to leak and set the car on fire.

The jury found that Chrysler acted with "reckless or wanton disregard for human life in the design or sale" of the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, knowing it could endanger lives, according to the newspaper.

It concluded that Chrysler was responsible for Walden's death and ordered the car manufacturer to pay US$150 million to the family.

The company did not reply to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for the carmaker told WSJ it was "unfortunate" the jury did not consider data submitted by Chrysler to the US government that showed the car did not pose a safety risk.

Chrysler is part of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

In June 2013, Fiat-Chrysler was ordered by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees over concerns about their fuel tanks.