Janelle Embrey

Jenelle Embrey

Jenelle Embrey of Linden, Va.,  was riding with her father on Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley when traffic slowed to a halt on the chronically-congested highway. Suddenly, they were hit from the rear by a Jeep that in turn had been rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck that failed to stop.

“Once out of our car, I wondered if I was in a nightmare,” Embrey said. “I was looking right into the small fire at the back of the Jeep. … I gestured for my dad to look towards the Jeep as I said, ‘I’m okay but those people…’ I could hear and see the mom and two teenage boys struggling.”

Embrey’s father ran to the Jeep, broke a window with his fist and managed to pull one of the teen-aged boys to safety.

“Then there was the noise. It was a gushing noise that brought fire… lots of fire,” Embrey said. “The entire vehicle was swallowed up by flames. In that instant, they burned to death. My dad barely escaped the fire. Dad ran over to me shaking his head and said, in a heartbreaking tone, ‘That’s it. It’s over.’

“Dad and I stood in front of the Jeep and watched in horror as the mom and teen burned to death. The saved teen watched the burning Jeep too as he tearfully screamed, ‘Mom! Mom!’”

Read the rest of Jenelle’s story as told to

After her terrifying experience, Jenelle started a petition campaign on seeking a recall of the Jeeps that represent a fire hazard when hit from the rear. She gathered 128,000 signatures urging federal safety regulators to order Chrysler to recall the dangerous Jeeps.

Finally, in June 2013, NHTSA asked Chrysler to recall the Jeeps. Chrysler refused, sparking a nationwide outcry from safety advocates, consumers and others. After a secret meeting at O’Hare Airport, Chrysler finally relented and announced that it would “inspect”  the Jeeps.

But whether the recall is adequate remains in doubt. That’s why Jenelle has started a second petition drive — at to be sure the recall is carried out properly.