I-Team: Menlo Park doctor's Chrysler Pacifica dies on Hwy 101, group calls for recall of vehicle

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- A consumer advocacy group is asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Dozens of owners have complained of stalled vehicles, sometimes in the middle of a busy highway.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has won a slew of awards including the Top Pick from J.D. Powers and a recommendation from Consumer Reports.

But Dr. Sid Patel of Menlo Park won't drive his minivan any longer. "I just couldn't believe that my brand new car died on the highway."

Patel was driving his Pacifica to work in Sept. in the fast lane of Northbound Highway 101, when he says the vehicle lost power.

He made his way to the right shoulder as a big-rig bore down on him. "I kind a braced for impact and I just grabbed onto the steering wheel really tight and you know I thought, 'Okay, something bad's going to happen right now,'" Patel told the ABC7 News I-Team.

Patel added that the big-rig switched lanes at the last second. The dealer, Boardwalk Chrysler Jeep of Redwood City, sent a tow truck.

The I-Team spoke with the technicians who worked on the minivan. They said Patel's is the first Pacifica they've seen that stalled out in traffic and that it appears, after a lot of work, that the issue was simply a bad connector.

Automotive Engineer Mike Nrainan from ABC7's Detroit affiliate WXYZ reviewed more than 50 owner complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Chrysler Pacifica stalling.

"What you really have to do is you really have to get vehicles that exhibit the condition and try and see if you can reproduce it and analyze it to see what the cause is," said Nrainan. "But the fact that you have so many complaints means that Chrysler and NHTSA which I'm sure they're doing, is going to move forward to get a team together and investigate what those issues are."

Fiat Chrysler told the I-Team they are investigating and that they are "unaware of any injuries or accidents associated with these complaints... most of the complaints we have involve single events of engine stall."

The Center for Auto Safety sent a petition to the NHTSA Monday for a recall over the stalling issue. The dealer told the I-Team's Dan Noyes they will refund Patel's money for the vehicle.

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