The trip was one that Guadalupe Alberto had made many times before, just a few miles through her neighborhood to the small grocery store her family had owned for years.
It was a Saturday afternoon, April 2008, and Mrs. Alberto, a 77-year-old former autoworker, was driving her 2005 Toyota Camry. Within blocks of her home, witnesses told police, the car accelerated out of control, jumped a curb and flew through the air before crashing into a tree. Mrs. Alberto was killed instantly.
Her car was not among the millions of Camry models and other Toyotas recently recalled for sticky accelerator pedals. And it also did not have floor mats at the time, which were part of a separate recall.
The crash is now being looked at as a possible example of problems with the electronic system that controls the throttle and engine speed in Toyotas.
Such computerized systems are part of a broader inquiry by federal regulators into problems with sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyotas, beyond the issues that have led to the company’s recent recalls. Toyota denies there is a problem with such systems.
In a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court in Genesee County, Mich., Mrs. Alberto’s family claims that Toyota and one of its suppliers, the Japanese firm Denso, were negligent in manufacturing an electronic throttle system that caused her death.
“We think Toyota has a safety problem with the electronic throttle control system in Camrys and other Toyota models,” said Eric Snyder, a lawyer for the family.
As she drove down her street, witnesses said her car began going faster and faster. The Camry ran at least three stop signs and then crossed a busy four-lane street, swerving to avoid oncoming traffic. When the car hit the tree, neighbors said that it sounded “like a cannon had been shot off.” Also the speedometer on the Camry was stuck at 80 miles per hour.
The car, which is now impounded as evidence, had only 17,000 miles on it and had never needed service except for three oil changes.
Toyota said that it had found no problems with its throttle control system, which it began using in 2002.
But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said that federal regulators will “continue to look” into whether Toyota’s electronic systems pose a safety concern.
If you or a family member has been personally injured because of the fault of someone else: by the use of dangerous and defective drugs, defective cars, bad products, or toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Defective Toyota Car Product Liability Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 888-210-9693 or Contact Me Online.
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