In the latest twist to the Explorer rollover saga, a federal grand jury in the US is investigating whether to bring criminal charges against the Bridgestone and/or Ford companies.

In the latest twist to the Explorer rollover saga, a federal grand jury in the US is investigating whether to bring criminal charges against the Bridgestone and/or Ford companies.

US Attorney Miriam Miquelon of Illinois' southern district has issued a subpoena seeking documents from attorneys handling hundreds of civil lawsuits brought against the tyre company and the manufacturer. The lawsuits were brought by the families of victims who were involved in accidents where Explorers rolled following a blowout of the Wilderness AT tyres they were fitted with.

The subpoena, is dated February 19 - the same day Alan Hogan, a former Bridgestone/Firestone assembly line worker, testified before a federal grand jury in Miquelon's district.

CARtoday.com reported last year that Bridgestone/Firestone has recalled millions of ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tyres since August 2000 because federal safety officials found they were prone to losing their tread while travelling at high speeds.

Miquelon's subpoena demanded information including sworn statements Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford officials made in lawsuits in connection with the tyres. A letter accompanying the subpoena said the documents were sought "pursuant to an official criminal investigation of a suspected federal offense being conducted by the federal grand jury," but did not specify any possible charges.

Grand jury investigations do not necessarily result in criminal charges and often are kept secret. Spokesmen for Ford and Bridgestone said their companies had not been approached by Miquelon's office, but said they had co-operated in past federal and state investigations and would continue to do so.

Hogan, who worked on a Bridgestone/Firestone assembly line in North Carolina from 1991 to 1997, told the grand jury his employers forced him and his co-workers to make tyres with steel belts that had lost their adhesion with age.

Hogan, who has testified in civil proceedings, said the workers were told to add an adhesive material between the belts to help them stick together, Brogdon said.

Original article from Car