Toyota Motor Corp. has settled the lawsuit brought by relatives of four family members killed in a high-speed crash near San Diego that first brought attention to the safety problems at Toyota. That led to the recalls of millions of Toyota cars. Mark Saylor, a California Highway Patrol officer, had borrowed the Toyota-made sedan from the dealer in August 2009. He was killed along with his wife, his daughter and his brother-in-law, as they drove on a California freeway. Their car reached speeds of more than 120 mph, hit a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames. A 911 call captured the brother-in-law telling the others to pray before the car launched off the embankment. The experienced law enforcement officer couldn’t slow the car down as it sped down the highway.
Shortly after the crash, Toyota recalled millions of cars to replace floor mats that it said could cause the accelerator to jam. The carmaker later recalled millions more vehicles to replace gas pedals that it said could stick. The case was considered the strongest of hundreds of lawsuits over claims stemming from sudden acceleration in several Toyota models, and brake glitches with the company’s Prius hybrid. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr said he would probably sign a sealing order that would keep the settlement confidential.
Toyota badly wanted this lawsuit to go away as quietly as possible since it couldn’t afford for the media and the public to find out what really happened to cause the crash. Simply put, this is a lawsuit that Toyota couldn’t afford to try. Tim Pestotnik, a San Diego lawyer, represented the family. He and his firm should be commended for their good work.
Source: Associated Press
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