Did Air Bag Failure Lead To Teen's Death?

Once Arnold Parra encountered the 10News investigations team in Montebello, he began running.

"Mr. Parra, I'm Lauren Reynolds from Channel 10. I need to talk to you about your air bags and the truck you sold to the Blockers," said 10News investigative reporter Lauren Reynolds.

Why is he running?

"I have said many times, he has blood on his hands," said attorney Julie Haus.

Parra is the owner of an auto body shop and a defendant in a lawsuit that accuses him of gross negligence and the wrongful death of 18-year-old Bobby Ellsworth.

"We had a lot of hopes for him, a lot of dreams for him, like any parent would," said Bobby's father, Bob.

The family's dreams died along with their son along a stretch of Dehesa Road.

"It's the worst pain anyone can have," said Bob.

The pain got worse when the family learned their son could have possibly survived the crash.

"It made me angry, it made us both very angry, and sad," said Bob.

They are angry because of what they allege Parra did to the airbags in the truck Bobby died in.

Bobby was the passenger and his friend, Waylon Blocker, was driving.

Waylon fell asleep and crashed. The air bags should have deployed but they were missing.

"Paper towels were all that was there," said Bob.

Crash scene investigators found the air bag compartments stuffed with paper. The covers had been sealed back on to look like the bags fully functioned.

"How can this be allowed to happen?" asked Bob.

"He pretty much did it in the most deceitful way you could," said Haus.

Haus said Parra bought the Dodge truck from a salvage auction in North Hollywood, where insurance companies unload cars considered totaled.

"… and the auction had it clearly marked that it was a salvage vehicle that had the air bags deployed," said Haus.

Parra paid $3,000 for the truck, which has a salvage title because in a previous serious accident the air bags had deployed.

Parra then made some repairs and sold the truck to a family friend for $8,000.

"He went into his shop and glued the compartments back on," said Haus.

The before pictures of the Dodge showed that the air bags had deployed.

In the crash that killed Bobby, photos showed paper hanging out of the air bag compartment.

Reynolds asked Parra, "Did you stuff it with newspaper? Couldn't you have spent a little more money and fixed them?"

It would have cost $1,200 each to repair the air bags.

Parra said he nothing to do with the air bags. His attorney, Robert Bonito, said, "My client it totally innocent. All he did was repair the front bumper."

Bonito said his client doesn't do air bags, and blamed the driver for crossing over the yellow line.

In his deposition, Parra is directly asked, "Did you put any newspaper in the air bags area?"

He replied, "No."

"Are you afraid to talk to us? Mr. Parra, are you afraid to even account for your actions?" asked Reynolds.

Bonito said Parra was afraid the I-Team was going to rob him, even though Reynolds identified herself.

Under the California Vehicle Code, it is a crime to rebuild a car without replacing deployed air bags.

The Ellsworths are hoping Parra will be criminally prosecuted.

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