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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 11/26/2003 7:51:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/26/2003 10:03:01 AM EST by warlord]
Los Angeles Times: Officer's Widow Sues Protective Vest Firm


Officer's Widow Sues Protective Vest Firm
She alleges that the garment contained defective material and the company knew
By Tony Perry
Times Staff Writer

November 26, 2003

SAN DIEGO — The widow and young son of an Oceanside police officer shot to death
after a routine traffic stop filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that he died
because his protective vest was defective and allowed three bullets to hit him.

The lawsuit, filed in Vista Superior Court, alleges that Michigan-based Second
Chance Body Armor Inc. knew that the Japanese-made material used in the vest was
defective, but "in a rush for market share and profits" allowed the vest to be
shipped to stores.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for Jamie Zeppetella, 25, the widow of slain
officer Tony Zeppetella, and their son, Jakob, now 11 months old.

Zeppetella, 27, a rookie officer, died June 13 after being shot several times
while making a routine traffic stop. Adrian Camacho, 28, a parolee with a
history of drug use and mental illness, was arrested within hours and now could
face the death penalty. His trial is set for August.

Second Chance officials referred telephone callers to a spokesman who was
unavailable despite repeated calls.

L.A. attorney Gregory S. Emerson said Zeppetella bought the vest for $950 in
October 2002 because it promised greater protection than the vest issued by the

The lawsuit alleges that Second Chance has known since at least 1998 that the
material called Zylon quickly deteriorates with age. Three bullets went through
the vest and struck Zeppetella, Emerson said.

"The survivability of that first shot was basically zero," said Emerson, whose
firm, Harrington, Foxx, Dubrow & Canter in Los Angeles, represents the Oceanside
Police Officers Assn.

Second Chance, which markets a line of gear for police officers, faces other
legal action relating to its Zylon vests.

Under pressure from Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice last week launched
a review of the Second Chance vests. Also last week, the Massachusetts attorney
general filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Second Chance from selling the vests in
Massachusetts, and the Arizona attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking refunds
for Arizona officers who purchased the vests.

When the Department of Justice probe was announced, Second Chance President Paul
Banducci issued a statement that called the review "the right thing to do" and
noted that in September his company had offered to upgrade or replace protective
vests made of Zylon.

In October, the L.A. Police Department announced it was replacing the Second
Chance vests worn by its officers.

Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 8:30:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/26/2003 8:31:43 AM EST by BluDragon]
So he buys the vest in October and it goes bad by June? I thought the Zylon took about two years to break down. Anybody know the caliber of the murder weapon? Seems like a IIIA vest should stop everything up to and including a .44 magnum. I've heard Tokarev rounds will punch through a vest, but I don't know for sure.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 10:07:46 AM EST
I was at a vest seminar once a few years back, one of the hardest things for even a new vest to stop is multiple and rapid hits, because many vests have a tendency to bunch up on the first hit, and the vest becomes less effective to stop subsequent bullets.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 10:28:22 AM EST
I'm no fan of litigation, but if they knew that the materiels were insufficent or defective to stop the rounds that he was shot with, then they should pay her through the nose.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 8:42:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/27/2003 5:27:27 PM EST by bigern]
Originally Posted By BluDragon: So he buys the vest in October and it goes bad by June? I thought the Zylon took about two years to break down. Anybody know the caliber of the murder weapon? Seems like a IIIA vest should stop everything up to and including a .44 magnum. I've heard Tokarev rounds will punch through a vest, but I don't know for sure.
View Quote
I'm no expert on this and I haven't worn a vest since I was in the Navy in the late 80's. That being said, I read the vest breakdown due to coming into contact with moisture. I would guess the 2 year range for breaking down would be the midpoint. What I'm saying is somebody wearing this vest in Seattle would sweat less than an officer in Oceanside and that difference in sweating would cause a variation in the time taken for the vest to breakdown. Nine months? I don't know but a scenario where this happened could be found in the evidence. Edited to note that I seem to be incorrect in moisture being the source of the problem with Zylon armor. I'm sorry if anyone was led astray by my comments.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 9:17:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/26/2003 9:18:41 PM EST by OLY-M4gery]
[url]stacks.msnbc.com/local/knsd/a1664669.asp?vts=61920030908[/url] Zeppetella, 27, died after being shot three times when he stopped a car in the parking lot of the Navy Federal Credit Union on College Boulevard. A rookie officer, Zeppetella had recently completed field training with the Oceanside Police Department. ---------------------------------------------------- There was a post on Glocktalk.com about this, it described the path of the bullet. The bullet went through the vest, and about every anatomical structure in the officer's upper body.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 10:12:16 PM EST
Do the Ultima's contain only Zylon, or do they also contain kevlar? We have some ABA Extreme ZX's that contain the Zylon and Kevlar. I haven't heard anything from ABA about their vests yet. I was just at a body armor demonstration done by ABA in August. They shot a Level II panel on the clay torso. They shot it with .45, 9mm, .40, .357 sig, 9mm +P+, and .45 GAP. In total they shot around 15-20 rounds at it in various locations and it stopped all of the rounds. The rounds were all chronographed each time they were shot. If you're not sure about Second Chance, I would seriously check out ABA. I've got an Extreme Level IIIA, and feel confident wearing it, especially after the demonstration.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 7:26:26 AM EST
I don't know how anyone manages to stay in business these days. Law suits are killing this nation.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 3:22:03 PM EST
[url][/url] The following information is included in the coroner's report done by the ME who performed the autopsy, and the Investigator's report that accompanies it. These public documents are available through a FOIA request from the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. Ask for any relevant documents on case #03-1181 Upon review of those documents, you will find that the bullet which penetrated his upper right chest was also a round that had penetrated his vest. This round shattered the clavicular head, perforates the right internal jugular vein and common carotid artery, passes posterior to the laryngeal structures and esophagus, then perforates the transverse process and lateral body of the seventh cervical vertebrae. The direction this bullet traveled is front to back, right to left and upwards. Upon review of this data on wound #2 as well as the numerous other wounds received, all of the three wound trauma professionals I have interviewed, including the ME who examined the body, agreed that the wound described above and listed as "Wound #2" in the ME's report was the cause of death, and that this wound was not survivable even with prompt medical attention. Further, they agreed that all of his other wounds were survivable with medical attention. So, despite the fact that Tony Zeppetella was shot numerous times, he would have survived had his level II Second Chance Ultima vest not failed to stop a rated round. (Note: It is well established that Zeppetella was wearing a Second Chance Zylon Ultima level II vest, approximately seven months old. The ME's report refers to a "kevlar vest". This errata is simply a matter of the lack of familiarity with body armor on the part of the ME.) ------------------------------------------- That's from Glocktalk, originally on the "tactical forums" The indicate that the round was a 9mm FMJ. Which should easily be stopped be a Level II vest.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 6:03:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/28/2003 6:04:01 AM EST by etg]
Guys, I don't know if everyone here is up to speed on the Zylon issue but if you wear any armor for your daily profession, YOU SHOULD BE. Go the below link, if you haven't been already and read up. http://www.tacticalforums.com/ (Enter the site and go to MDLabs. There is a full history as well as current events on the Zylon issue and those who have been injured/killed while wearing Zylon vests.) It will make your blood boil. Then get on the band wagon if you qualify and start looking around for a vest that will protect you as it should. I am telling everyone that I know and have dealings with to stay away from Second Chance. They are scum in my book. If you think this is harsh or out of place, take a look at the above link FIRST, then say what you want to say. Everyone has their right to their own opinion. I cherish mine. Editted to add, I hope she gets millions.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 10:35:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By etg: http://www.tacticalforums.com/ (Enter the site and go to MDLabs. There is a full history as well as current events on the Zylon issue and those who have been injured/killed while wearing Zylon vests.)
View Quote
I must be a 'tard. Can't find it![%|]
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 12:15:45 PM EST
It's under the General Forums section. There is alot of info there. You will be there a while reading and being educated. There is new stuff coming out daily about this issue so you will want to save it in your favorites to keep updated. I am assuming that you are getting to the site, correct?
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 12:27:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/28/2003 12:29:35 PM EST by AZ-K9]
Its only a matter of time before SC declares bankruptcy. They arent going to pay anyone willingly, they will have to be squeezed hard. Richard Davis used to be a person I admired. Hell, shooting himself wearing his armor is a ballsy act, and sold a lot of vests. Too bad greed took hold and he now has blood on his hands. F him.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 7:59:34 PM EST
AZ-K9, I agree.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:18:30 AM EST
It goes to show that no motor vehicle stop is "routine".
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