The parents of the married couple who died in a Lexus ES350 loaner vehicle given to them by a southern California Lexus dealer filed a products liability and negligence lawsuit (see below) in a California state court Tuesday afternoon seeking unspecified damages from Toyota and car dealer Bob Baker Lexus.
The lawsuit was filed by the parents of California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, the parents of the CHP officer's wife Cleofe Lastrella Saylor, grandparents of the couple's 13-year-old daughter Mahala Saylor, and Christopher.Lastrella - Cleofe's brother and Mark Saylor's brother-in-law.
In a tragic 911 emergency phone call, the off-duty CHP officer who was driving the Lexus on a family outing describes the car's sudden acceleration on a California freeway to a speed as high as 120 mph only ½ mile before coming to an intersection. Saylor frantically calls a 911 dispatcher for help, urgently explaining, in part:
"Our accelerator is stuck...We're going 120;...We're in trouble. We can't...there is no brakes. End freeway half mile.... We're approaching the intersection. We're approaching the intersection."
According to the lawsuit, the call soon ended and the loaner Lexus:
"struck another vehicle, traveled across [a road]; broke through a fence, struck a berm, flew through the air, rolled several times into a field and burst into flames. Mark, Cleofe, Christopher and Mahala all dies inside the subject Lexus on August 28, 2009.
You can read the lawsuit against Toyota for the deaths of CHP Officer Saylor, his wife, teenage daughter, and brother-in-law here:
- Toyota sued over deaths in key California crash, Reuters (Mar. 3, 2010)
- Toyota Recall and Lawsuits, FindLaw
- Audio tape of 911 emergency call in deadly Lexus crash near San Diego, Calif., telling 911 operator of stuck accelerator (WABC-TV)
- John Gomez, the plaintiffs' lead lawyer
- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Lawyers
- NHTSA Toyota / Lexus Recall Notice, Re: Vehicle Speed Control: Accelerator Pedal): (Oct. 5, 2009)(Oct. 5, 2009)
- Toyota Recall Lawsuits: a Rundown
- NHTSA, Toyota Have Been Looking at Unintended Acceleration for Years