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Documents on trucks' safety to be open

A judge ordered the unsealing of 24 boxes of documents from a lawsuit over a type of General Motors truck that critics say is likely to burst into flames when hit broadside.

A lawyer for the automaker said the documents would prove that the full-size 1973-87 Chevrolet and GMC C-K model trucks with side fuel tanks are safe. GM officials had urged the court to order the documents released.

A consumer advocate said the documents should help prove the pickups are likely to explode when hit from the side.

State District Judge Jeff Walker approved unsealing the records involving a lawsuit filed by the family of Richard Zelenuk of Forth Worth. Zelenuk burned to death in 1989 when his 1987 GM truck was broadsided and its gas tank exploded.

The lawsuit was settled last year and the case sealed. It was one of more than 100 filed involving GM truck gas tanks.

The Center for Auto Safety says about 300 people have died in side-impact crashes from fuel tank fires or explosions in such trucks.