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Lancaster, S.C. - Investigators from the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA), Honda, the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office and attorney Bob M. Cook of Bob Cook Law have confirmed a defective Takata airbag as the cause of death in an auto accident which occurred on January 9, 2021 in Lancaster, South Carolina. Rekeyeon Barnette of Lancaster died just moments after the accident, which occurred at the intersection of Highway 9 and Crestfield Drive in Lancaster. The cause of death was deemed to be asphyxiation and it is believed to be the 19th death by airbag in the United States and the second of which to have occurred in Lancaster County. After approximately three months of thorough investigation, the parties confirmed on Wednesday the components were in fact manufactured by Takata and were the proximate cause of death. Barnette, who was 35 at the time of death, is survived by his wife, Dnetta, who is represented by attorney Bob M. Cook of Bob Cook Law of Lancaster, South Carolina. “This was a senseless tragedy,” Cook said. “But for the lack of action by Takata officials and Honda, Mr. Barnette would still be alive today. Both the airbag and the vehicle manufacturers chose their profits over the safety of occupants of their vehicles and now we have what is believed to be the 19th unnecessary death in this country.” “After several months of hard work and investigation, we have confirmed that the airbag caused his death. I have been working diligently with Karla Deese, Lancaster County Coroner, and her staff since this accident happened. Fortunately, Mrs. Deese has done a phenomenal job in preserving the vehicle and airbag components as a part of this investigation,” Cook said. On Wednesday, Cook, along with investigators from NHTSA and Honda, as well as their attorneys, conducted inspections of the vehicle and airbag components at Deese’s office. After several hours of work, the parties confirmed what was already suspected to those involved with the case. “Now that we have confirmed the airbag was a Takata product and it was in fact the cause of Mr. Barnette’s death, we will be moving forward with our claims against Takata and Honda on behalf of Mr. Barnette’s Estate in the very near future,” Cook added. “Our hearts go out to his wife as well as other members of his family. This could have easily been avoided.”

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