The final moments of a family killed in a car crash apparently caused by a faulty accelerator on a Toyota vehicle have been made public as lawyers challenge the company’s safety record.
Four members of the same family died in a hired Lexus that allegedly accelerated out of control.
Mark Saylor, 45, an off-duty California highway patrolman, died last August along with his wife Cleofe, 45, and daughter, Mahala, 13, and Cleofe Saylor’s brother Chris Lastrella.
In a 911 emergency call made from the car just before the crash, Lastrella is heard saying: “We’re in a Lexus. . . and we’re going north on 125 and our accelerator is stuck. . . we’re in trouble. . . there’s no brakes. . . we’re approaching the intersection. . . hold on. . . hold on and pray. . . pray.”
Tim Pestotnik, a lawyer acting for Mark Saylor, said that the Lexus — Toyota’s luxury brand which has not been involved in any of the recalls — had been lent to the family while their own car was being repaired. "The same car had been loaned to another person three days earlier. They brought it back and complained about the accelerator sticking," he said.
He questioned Toyota’s claim that it had found a "simple and durable" fix for the problems that have led to thousands of accidents and 19 deaths.
Dealers in the U.S. will start repairs this weekend on 2.3 million cars by inserting a stainless steel bar under the accelerator pedal to stop it sticking. The company will also replace pedals in another five million cars where the floor mats could trap the accelerator.