GM, Enterprise Rent-A-Car targets of unintended acceleration lawsuit

The 2016 General Motors Chevrolet Cruze is unveiled during an event at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan.
Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The families of two men killed in a car crash in 2017 are accusing General Motors and Enterprise Rent-A-Car of manufacturing and renting a defective 2016 Chevy Cruze.

The suit alleges unintended acceleration caused a February 2017 crash in Kleberg County, Texas, that killed 23-year-old Ebenezer Oloba and 19-year-old Oscar Fuentes Jr., both students at Texas A&M University.

"Despite the fact that Ebenezer Oloba was operating the subject vehicle in a reasonable and prudent manner, the subject vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly left the roadway, traveled on the shoulder of the roadway, where it struck two road signs, and eventually vaulted into the San Antonio River, where the vehicle quickly sank below the surface," the lawsuit said. Both Oloba and Fuentes drowned.

"This lawsuit isn't about money," said attorney Chris Stewart, who represents the Oloba family. "People drive these vehicles every day. We hope we can prevent future accidents."

Determining if unintended acceleration or some other defect caused the fatal crash will require analysis of the vehicle's black box, computer systems and other components in the car. The plaintiff's attorneys plan to use this suit to get access to the Cruze Oloba was driving as well as to question engineers from General Motors, which built the car, and Enterprise, which rented the vehicle to Fuentes.

A spokesperson for General Motors declined to comment on the lawsuit since the automaker has yet to see particulars of the case. CNBC also reached out to Enterprise for a comment regarding the suit.

In 2013 and 2014, General Motors was rocked by scandal when lawsuits led to GM ultimately admitting it installed faulty ignition switches in more than 2.7 million vehicles. Those switches were linked to at least 124 deaths and the scandal wound up costing the company more than $1.4 billion in fines and settlements payments.

As part of its own investigation, GM hired an outside law firm to look into what went wrong. That report concluded the automaker's culture allowed the faulty ignition switches to go undetected for years.