This classic two-part investigation demonstrates the enterprise of a young reporter in a small-market station who examines why local police patrol cars often explode when hit from behind, leaving officers trapped inside when the car busts into flames. Chip Yost assembles crash data from far and wide to support the claim that the Ford Motor Company knowingly mounts the gas tanks in Crown Victorias between the rear axle and the frame, the “crush zone” that is highly vulnerable to rear-end collisions. Because Crown Victorias are used by 85 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, the local story takes on national importance.

Chip Yost, reporter; Ed Ayala, photographer/edtior; Bob Richardson, news director.

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2002 duPont Winners

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