The widow of an Oceanside police officer killed in the line of duty is suing the companies that made and sold her husband's protective vest, 10News reported.
Officer Tony Zepetella was shot and killed last June. Now, his family, attorneys and fellow officers claim the company knew Zepetella's vest was defective.
Zepetella's vest was made by a company called Second Chance. The vest's primary material is called "zylon" made by Toyobo. The lawsuit claimed both companies knew of the deficiencies but did not acknowledge them until last month.
Zepetella was shot at close range and was wearing a protective vest made by Second Chance, a vest made to stop the very kind of bullet, attorneys said, that killed Zepetella. Attorneys allege Second Chance and Toyobo knew about significant deficiencies in the vest as early as five years ago.
Police departments across the nation chose Second Chance vests because they are lightweight and more comfortable than traditional vests. But recent studies released by the manufacturer showed that heat and sweat make the vests deteriorate rapidly, 10News reported.
Attorney's said these companies failed to help Zepetella in his vow to protect and serve. With the lawsuit, Zepetella's young bride vows to protect his fellow officers.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is investigating the company, in addition to several other states where officers wore the vests. Zepetella's wife is urging the California's Attorney General's Office to launch an investigation of its own.
According to the company's Web site
, Second Chance said it is committed to resolving durability problems with this particular fabric.
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