A fiery crash that killed four family members in San Diego County prompted Toyota to look into the possibility that mismatched floor mats were the culprit. A memorandum sent to 1400 Toyota and Lexus auto dealerships this past Tuesday, Toyota told employees to inspect their vehicles for mats which may have snagged the gas pedal on a runaway Lexus. They also warned concerned customers to check their floor mats to make sure they were properly secured.
Tragic Results from Unlikely Malfunction
Mark Saylor, 45, Mark Saylor his wife, Cleofe, 45; their daughter, Mahala, 13; and Saylor’s brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella, 38 were all killed Aug. 28 on State Route 125 in Santee, a town near San Diego. The vehicle was doing more than 120 mph when it hit a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames. The SUV driver was relatively unharmed and treated for moderate injuries.
Lastrella was able to place a 911 call a minute or so before the crash to say the vehicle had no brakes and the accelerator was stuck. The family was in a 2009 Lexus ES 350 that was loaned by a dealer, Bob Baker Lexus El Cajon, while their auto was being serviced.
Determining Fault in a Horrific Scenario
Investigators were able to determine that a rubber all-weather floor mat wreckage was a couple of inches longer than the mat that originally belonged in the vehicle. They believed it snared or covered the accelerator pedal so that it was unable to function properly.
In 2007, the company did recall all-weather mats from a few of its Lexus ES 350s and Toyota Camrys after complaints that they could slip and trap the accelerator.
Product Liability Litigation and Accountability
Toyota and other automakers have to make sure that their automobiles are safe for people to drive. This means more than checking to see if the tires are inflated or that the car does not rollover. Every element of the design has to be put into consideration.
As they have had a similar issue in the past they should be more than well aware of the hazards of mismatched floors. Because they failed to protect the consumer they could be open for a legitimate product liability lawsuit from surviving loved ones.
Our sponsoring personal injury law firm can help
No one should lose a loved on in such a horrific manner. If you have lost a relative in a similar accident you have the right as well as the ability to pursue wrongful death litigation.
Contact our sponsoring attorney’s offices for a free consultation and find out more about product liability and other related legal options today.