Saylor Report Inconclusive
Last August 28, a fiery crash in the San Diego area killed four people including California Highway Patrol Officer, Mark Saylor and his family on their way to their daughter’s soccer practice.
Just before it crashed, a passenger inside the Lexus ES 350 called 911 and told a dispatcher the car was going 125 mph and the accelerator was stuck. The dispatcher then heard the family praying.
That crash sparked a recall of 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles, eight models in all, reported to be the largest recall in U.S. history, to replace the floor mats thought to have trapped the accelerator.
As a fix, Toyota announced its providing “smart throttle” technology which allows the brake to override the accelerator in the Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models as “an extra measure of confidence” and the company will reconfigure the accelerator pedal in 4 million recalled vehicles.
But investigators looking into the Saylor crash say replacing the floor mats may not solve the problem.
In a 61-page report from the San Diego Co. Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Times reports investigators conclude electronic or mechanical problems cannot be ruled out.
With reports of more than 1,000 Toyota sudden acceleration events from around the country in the last eight years, the investigators’ 61-page report questions whether the accident was preventable.
"Due to the catastrophic damage . . . other avenues of unintended acceleration could not be explored. Beyond the all-weather floor mat, other and/or additional factors causing a sudden acceleration event (re: electrical, mechanical or computer generated) should not be ruled out."
The Times says another customer, Frank Bernard, 61, had warned the dealership, Bob Baker Lexus of El Cajon, about the same Lexus involved in the Saylor crash.
The San Diego Union-Tribune obtain the sheriff’s report and found that Bernard did not think the 20-year-old receptionist understood him.
Bernard said he told the receptionist the gas pedal was jammed and he accelerated to 80 to 95 mph and he thought the mat caused it. “You need to tell someone” he told Jessica Martin-Dunleavy.
The receptionist says she passed the information on to a detailer who couldn’t remember being told.
The Saylor car’s black box event recorder will be given to Toyota technicians to see if they can access the data as investigators could not extract information.
The crash killed Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife Cleofe, 45, daughter Mahala, 13 and brother- in-law Chris Lastrella. #