Chicago doctor suing Silver Lake Jeep rental company for injuries.

July 5, 2018

Photo from Parrot’s Landing Facebook page.

Chicago doctor suing Silver Lake Jeep rental company for injuries.


GOLDEN TOWNSHIP — A man who allegedly suffered disabling injuries while driving a rented Jeep on lakeshore dunes is suing a Silver Lake company for $7.5 million, saying the Jeep rental company failed to train him to drive on sand and to inform him of the dangers.

John Ross, a family practice doctor in suburban Chicago, is sueing Parrot’s Landing, 8110 W. Hazel Road for injuries he suffered last August.

“My life has been absolutely ruined, completely changed,” Ross told WOOD TV-8 Thursday. “I’m unable to do anything, really.”

On a cloudy Aug. 4, 2017, Ross, his 16-year-old son and their friends decided rent a Jeep from Parrot’s Landing, which included an hour of guided time followed by an hour on their own to do what they wished. Ross was driving the Jeep when, according to police reports, it crested a steep dune too fast and went airborne. The Jeep came down on its front.

“Then we rolled over and I shattered my cervical spine,” Ross explained.

He was airlifted to the hospital where he works, Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where he stayed for three weeks and underwent multiple procedures. He had multiple fractures and compressions that have left him incapacitated and unable to return to his practice, he said, adding he’s not sure if he’ll ever be able to go back to work.

Ross said he is an extraordinarily cautious person and he was doing what he was told, which he said was to gun the engine to get to the top of the hill.

“They market and advertise this as a safe, fun, family-friendly activity and they hide this incredible history of rollovers from those customers,” Grand Rapids attorney Stephen Hulst of Rhoades McKee P.C. said.

The attorneys representing Ross used the Freedom of Information Act to get Michigan Department of Natural Resources crash reports that show Ross was the ninth Parrot’s Landing customer involved in a Jeep rollover since 2012, the third in three consecutive days and the second in two days on the same hill. 

During that same period, there had been 21 crashes involving Jeeps or ATVs from Parrot’s Landing or its affiliated company Wild Bill’s.

The attorneys said there just isn’t enough training for people to be trusted with a Jeep on the dunes.

The suit filed in Grand Rapids federal court argues the business is violating Michigan law in regard to a lack of safety measures for customers and that it engaged in fraud by advertising the activity as safe and suitable for the whole family.

Ross said the whole business model should be done away with.

“I would love to see this operation never to exist anywhere up there,” Ross said.

A representative of the company told WOOD TV, that Parrot’s Landing is a “mom and pop operation” that rents more than 5,000 vehicles during its four-month season.

He said if people follow the rules, which include telling people not to get air with the vehicles, they can have a fun and safe experience.

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