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Rhonda Smith - Shame On You, Toyota!

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:37 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Toyota, Unintended Acceleration, NHTSA, Sticking Gas Pedals, Recall, Prius, Tundra, Lexus, Highlander, Class-Action

Rhonda Smith was trapped in an accelerating Lexus.

Toyota Hearings Underway

See Part 2- Smith Answers Critics

Rhonda Smith is a retired social worker from Tennessee who talked moments ago about the accelerating Lexus 350 that nearly took her life in October 2006. The new automobile had just over 2,000 miles on it.

She just told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that on October 12, she was driving in Tennessee on Hwy 66 entering I-40.

"I was entering the interstate and accelerated and merged into second lane, NOT going into passing gear. It is at this time I lost all control of the acceleration of the vehicle. The car goes into passing gear and the cruise light comes on. At this time, I am thinking that maybe the cruise is what has caused the car to accelerate, as my foot is NOT on the gas pedal. I take off the cruise control. The car continues to accelerate. The car is now up to 80 mph. The brakes do not slow the car at all. Now I am at 85-90 mph. (*Editor corrected script here)

"I push the car into NEUTAL and it makes a revving noise. I push the emergency brake on… nothing helps. I continue hitting and slamming the brakes. Now I am at 85 mph wondering if I can maneuver in and out of the upcoming cars and trucks, or if I am going to need to put the car into the guardrail and into the trees.

"The last time I looked at the speedometer it read 100 mph. At this time, I had the emergency brake onwhile frantically shifting between ALL the gears (besides park) but mainly had it in REVERSE and with the emergency brake on. I finally figured the car was going to go to its maximum speed and was praying to God to please help me. After about 3 miles had passed, I thought it was my time to die, and I called my husband (on bluetooth). I knew he couldn’t help me in this particular situation, but I just needed to hear his voice. What an awful 911 call he received at work.

"At almost exactly 6 miles God intervened. I had not tried anything different that I had frantically tried before to slow the vehicle, yet the car began to slow down ever so slowly. It slowed enough for me to pull to the left median, with the motor still revving up and down. At 35 mph it would not shut off.

"Finally, at 33 mph I was able to turn the engine off. However, the radio remained on and I was not about to touch ANY button on that car, or ever again.

"After my husband arrived there was nothing unusual with the floormats, the dash lights and radio were still on. The wrecker driver asked my husband to put my car in neutral so he could use the winch. My husband was able to shift into neutral, but when he did that, the car tried to start itself. The wrecker driver attested to this. After ten days, Toyota did not contact us. We received an analysis stating "if properly maintained the brakes will always override the accelerator." Well that’s a lie!

"WATE TV did some stories but we've never waivered from our belief that the problem is electronic not wandering floormats. We got no response from Toyota. We're here today because unfortunately it took almost four years and injuries and lives lost for Congress to take up this important issue. We hope others may be spared unnecessary pain. This failure is surely shared by Toyota and NHTSA, they showed a disregard for life.

"Today I must say, shame on you, Toyota, for being so greedy. Shame on you, NHTSA, for not doing your job!"

Smith's husband, Eddie, then testified that they received the statement about brake override fom Toyota again and eventually landed in arbitration with the automaker, something he called a waste of money and a set-up. #


93 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Mimi
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:55 PM EST

You go Rhonda!!!! Thank you for your testimony.

Anonymous User
Posted by Lotus
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:41 PM EST

It is physically and mechanically impossible for a vehicle to do what she claimed. Placing the car in neutral MECHANICALLY moves the driveshaft away from the engine. For this car to do what it did, 3 separate systems, both electronic and mechanical would have to fail simultaneously and in the exact same manner and at the exact same time. Not possible. Congress should look into Rhonda Smith, not Toyota. This reminds me of the Audi fiasco years ago, and in the end, there was nothing wrong with Audi's either.

Anonymous User
Posted by doug burke
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:29 PM EST

My 2008 Highlander is still in the collision repair shop after the front end was demolished when it accelerated into the rear of a Jeep Liberty that was slowing for a red light ahead in our neighborhood. The accelerator in our Highlander is a Denso, made in Japan (not the one being recalled as I understand), yet the same thing happened as described by those with the CTS pedal. I'd love to know if others with Denso pedals have had any problems? My Lexus ES350 also has a Denso so now I am nervous.

Anonymous User
Posted by paul allen
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:53 PM EST

I would rather drive my Toyota with a sticky gas pedal, no brakes down hill in an icey snow than give another dollar to the UAW.

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:53 PM EST

Lotus-
You sound like you work for Toyota. They didn't believe Rhonda either. Did you see her testimony? Do you really think she is lying?

Anonymous User
Posted by toyota
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:11 PM EST

Is it possible for car to be in neutral and still accelerate? Are their transmission electronic as well?

Anonymous User
Posted by itestedautosoftwareforaliving
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:44 PM EST

Will a real automotive software systems test engineer please stand up and listen to the victim?
The victim said:
"...I put the car in reverse but it speeds at 100 mph..." Nobody normally puts a moving car into the transmisson lever's reverse position.
THEREFORE, Toyota SYSTEMS ENGINEERS need to run a series of tests that include cruise control ON and transmission being shifted from drive to reverse. Maybe the brake override and acceleration override quits working when the car is in that control state.

Anonymous User
Posted by ToyotaCritic
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4:03 PM EST

Even though i have always disliked toyotas, i still agree with some of the people above: this woman is just lying to justify something wrong she did.
Foot on cruise control??
Car accelerating in neutral?!
I can't imagine a car @ 100MPH being put in reverse...dunno guys...
She had the nerve to place a phone call in this situation?

Anyways, too bad toyota deserves it anyway.

Posted by Darren Wilson
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 6:13 PM EST

I didn't review her testimony, but think a lot of these commenters make good points and are asking valid questions.

Did she actually say she "took her foot off of the cruise control?" Maybe she misspoke, or meant to say she braked, expecting that to disengage the cruise control? I am not familiar with cars with any cruise control controls on the floor other than the brake itself (which usually disengaes or deactivates the cc).

Is the transmission in these cars mechanical or electrically controlled? Transmissions in late model cars are more sophisticated electronically than the less fancy ones I am accustomed to driving (where shifting to neutral disengages the engine from the drive mechanism, but does change the revs or rpms, which could mean the engine still is "accelerating" in those terms (even if the car is not).

I don't (with my limited knowledge of cars) sense that Lotus is commenting with bias here. Maybe a mechanic with experience working on these cars can speak up and explain more about how this vehicle works.

All of that said, I have little doubt that there is a problem with these recalled cars, and that Toyota had enough evidence of a problem to do more about it sooner (per their own internal documents coming to light). I think that will be more evident as the investigation unfolds.

As the saying goes, where there is smoke, there's fire - now they need to find the actual source of the smoke and put it out. A company like Toyota doesn't start running "apology" commercials simply because of unfounded allegations. There is something serious going on here.

Anonymous User
Posted by John Collie
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 6:16 PM EST

I have solved the problems with the Toyota automobile. They are going about it all wrong there is no need to mess with the brake and gas pedals they are just fine. There are no need to mess with brakes . there is no need to mess with them they are fine.

When they put the parts on this with take care of all the problems. The parts costs about $60.00 new but since they have to buy so many parts they may be able to get them at a reduced price. I got my part from the junk yard I paid $10.00 for my part and had a guy put it on for $10.00 for a total of $20.00. I have e-mail several people but they do not seem to care, could you past this on to a higher up person ion Toyota staff so we can solved this problems before peoples really start to kill each other the problem is only go to get worst because they are going by it the wrong way! We know 100%hot fix their automobiles but are not able to reach anyone we can give this information to. We tried to reach Jim Lentz but we could not reach him even though we left information on his answering machine but we did not get and answer from him. They act as though they don’t want this problem fix. We have sent this information to several and they won’t response. Soon they are going to start killing people on the roadway because the problem is going to get worst. The problem is only to get worst because they are deal with the effect not the cause of the problem which is very cheap and it take about 10 minute to put on and this will take care of all the problem. I have sent over 20 email to newspapers, CNN, Radio Stations, Jim lentz and many other sources. Let me tell Mrs. The problem were not hers the problem the problem was Toyota. I can easily prove your case for you . Call me as soon as possible so we can clear this problem up. By the way Jim Lentz is a clown.

John Collie
709 Wesley
Muskegon , MIO. 49442

Telephone number # (231) 747-7330



























420

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 6:31 PM EST

Jane, what Lotus says is 100% true. Neutral is a physical disconnect from the drivetrain. Also, there is no brake system out there that would fail to slow down a car with as much pedal pressure she used even at WOT (wide open throttle). I have driven cars from 4 cylinder economy cars to high horsepower Corvettes and not one of them failed to slow down with firm pedal pressure when I DELIBERATELY kept the throttle pedal on the floor! Did she experience total hydraulic failure? Given the zigzag gate on the Lexus, did she REALLY go into reverse? In a panic she would have had to move the shifter up and to the right. In reports from the various media outlets, they state that many drivers lose control in a panic situation. While I have no doubt that her car DID accelerate, how can we be sure she actually did what she said she did in a panic? My car's airbag control module has a second notable feature. It also serves as a data recorder. In this situation, it would have monitored everything from speed and brake application to what gear my car was in, engine RPM, etc. If the suspect Lexus had a similar device, was it removed and its data analyzed

Paul Allen, I can understand your thoughts on how the UAW has raped the auto industry (Jobs Bank? What a joke) but there is something to be said for my 2005 GM car. It has something called a "throttle cable." None of this electronic drive by wire garbage. Also, I have a good old fashioned manual transmission and clutch pedal. Had I experienced the same situation, I press the clutch pedal to the floor and the engine is physically disengaged from the transmission. There are things to be said for the old mechanical methods of doing things.

I am glad that the woman survived. But in a panic, people often times hit the wrong control or pedal and not realize it. This has been documented many times. SO MANY unintended acceleration issues were found to be the driver hitting the gas instead of the brake even though that probably does not apply to Mrs Smith's situation. As an automotive enthusiast familiar with areas like engine rebuilding, transmission work, brake systems, etc, what happened as she described it is not possible. The only time I have heard of a runaway car where nothing slowed it down (brakes, engine shutoff, transmission gear change) was with Elliot Gould's character in Capricorn One. Of course, that was Hollywood.

Anonymous User
Posted by Gwr
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:00 PM EST

What most people do not get is that most of a Toyota vehicle is built here in America. I have worked for a supplier for nearly 10 years and now my job is in jeopardy because someone had a bad experience with a car. I had a 1981 cutlass that the very same thing happened on. I had enough sense to shut the key. So in her little story it was a little scary but not worthy of a grand stand. Stupid coverage of these rinky dink happenings are just showing how small minded some people are. These are very rare occurrences. I know of someone who was struck by lightning. I have yet to meet in person anyone who has an incident with their Toyota vehicle. I like my job. So lay off Toyota....They re a good company to work for.

Anonymous User
Posted by Justin Mack
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:03 PM EST

Rhonda smith is a LIAR!! Its unbelievable to say the least! What a witch hunt. She says she put the car in N and nothing happened?? Not Possible.. sorry its mechanical.. Then she says she put the car in reverse and it continued pulling her faster.. Sorry.. Also cannot happen.... oh and she says she depressed the emergency brake and nothing happened.. Really.. depressed the e-brake at 100mph... seriously... I know exactly what happens when you do that. the rears lock up and you start to spin violently.. it is cable operated.. why doesnt someone call this liar out for what she is..

Anonymous User
Posted by art
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:07 PM EST

if she put the car in neutral, she would disconnect the engine from the drive wheels, and normally working brakes would stop the car. i smell a rat.

Anonymous User
Posted by Justin Mack
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:07 PM EST

By the way.. has anyone read the Car and Driver Article stating that a toyota camry at full throttle traveling at 100mph with the brake depressed will stop despite the wide open throttle in just 400ft.. LIAR LIAR! Toyota should sue this woman for defimation
here is a link to the article.
https://owa.rtlsvcs.com/exchange/JXM1222/Inbox/Car%20and%20Driver%20article.EML/Braking%20results.pdf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/Braking%20results.pdf?attach=1

Anonymous User
Posted by Toyota tech Dave
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:21 PM EST

Yes, Lotus is correct.

The story Rhonda told is simply not true for all the reasons explained in this thread. Most likely she is hoping for some financial settlement from Toyota, or other form of compensation. Anyone with an automotive tech background can easily confirm she is a lier. Now, I hate large greedy corporations as much as the next guy, and I realize these are desperate times, but still there's no excuse for making up crap when ultimately the costs of one individuals payoff are passed along to the rest of us consumers. Shame on Rhonda.

Anonymous User
Posted by Oblio A
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:49 PM EST

It is physically and mechanically impossible for a computer to freeze or crash!...Oh whoops...that sure makes me sounds like a idiot. Call me Lotus.

Rhonda didn't "disconnect the engine from the drive wheels". She pressed a button an electronic keyboard that is made to look like a shifter. Sadly, sounds like the rolling Lexus "computer on wheels" has gotten a microsoft virus. Achoo!

Posted by Darren Wilson
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:05 PM EST

I don't think it's fair to discount Rhonda's story or credibility based on the assumption that she is "looking for a financial settlement." An assumption of a financial stake in the matter is not enough to disregard every bit of testimony.

If that's the case, then we have to discount the testimony of everyone who works for Toyota (they are just looking for a paycheck or to protect their own jobs), all the executives (ditto to power of 10), anyone involved in making repairs or having made repairs, all suppliers, every expert who investigates the matter (someone is paying them, be it the defense, the plaintiff, or the government), all attorneys involved on every side, including Toyota's own whistleblowing attorney, all shareholders or competitors, and anyone who owns a Toyota who doesn't want to see the resale value go down (or someone who would like to get a deal on a Toyota), and anyone who would rather their car not be hit by an out of control Toyota.

I think we should hear all sides and let all the facts be uncovered before assuming someone is lying.

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:24 PM EST

Oblio, while the automatic in any modern car is far more complex than a transmission from, say, 20 years ago, neutral still does the same thing. As is the case with the shifter in a manual transmission and the clutch pedal out, nothing is locked together. The sun gear, planetary gears, planet carrier, and the ring gear are all free to rotate in the simplest sense. So while it may either be mechanically activated or electronically activated, neutral does stop the flow of power from the engine to the drive wheels. And there are still bands, valves, modulators, and solenoids inside a modern automatic to do all that. Also, did she not try to downshift? If anybody has seen the underside of the car she has, maybe they could tell me if there is any mechanical linkage from the shifter to the transmission. I am guessing there has to be something to engage the parking pawl with it is put into park.

Darren, I agree with your last sentence. I think though what a lot of us here remember was the farce involved with the Audi 5000. It was proven that 60 minutes deliberately rigged their test car to malfunction. It was such that it could not be duplicated with regular driving in a car that was not modified. If Toyota was truly not responsible for her situations, then it would be unfair for a company to be damaged by false information as it nearly happened to Audi with the 60 minutes hatchet job. This is NOT Ford with their exploding Pinto fuel tanks.

As I said in my original post Darren, I suspect she, in her panic, did not actually do what she thought she did or intended to do. Could she, in her panic, inadvertently moved the shifter over to the left into the "manual mode" slot? If so, she can push the lever all the way forward many times and never get into neutral nor reverse.
That is why I made the comment about if Lexus used any form of data recorders in their cars like the GM air bag control modules. That may have also given some insight.

Posted by Brett Emison
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:54 PM EST

This is a remarkable set of comments. I find myself wondering why so many people would presume that this poor woman was sitting there lying to Congress when Toyota's lies about sudden acceleration are so well documented. I have documented many of Toyota's lies on a recent post you can view by clicking "more" ( LINK /automobile-accidents/toyota-recall-lies-lies-and-more-lies.aspx?googleid=278496" rel="nofollow"> LINK ). In my post, there are citations to the proof of each Toyota lie.

Some specific examples:

Toyota told the public there was no defect in the 3.8 million Toyota vehicles originally recalled because of sudden acceleration. NHTSA called out Toyota for making "inaccurate and misleading" statements.

Toyota said its vehicles were safe, but then its USA president, Jim Lentz, went on the Today show and refused to guarantee the "sticky pedal" fix.

Toyota USA president Lentz said publicly that Toyota didn't learn about the "sticky pedal" acceleration problem until October 2009. However, Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Toyota knew about the exact same "sticky" pedal acceleration problems in Europe since August 2008.

Toyota said it had fixed the sudden acceleration problem. However, at least four independent experts concluded that Toyota doesn't really know what causes sudden acceleration. Just today, Toyota USA president, Jim Lentz, admitted that Toyota's current recalls will NOT fix the sudden acceleration problem.

Toyota said it halted production of defective and recalled vehicles voluntarily. It didn't. Toyota was forced to halt production under pressure from NHTSA and the Department of Transportation.

Beyond Toyota's lies, let's just look at its conduct. Here's what we know so far:

Toyota fixed the "sticky" pedal problem in Europe last year while it was still denying the problem in the US.

Toyota failed to install a "smart pedal" brake override system that would have prevented nearly all of the injuries and deaths from sudden acceleration. This system has been used by other car makers for more than a decade and would have cost less than $1 per vehicle to design and install.

Toyota bragged that it saved itself $100 million by misleading federal regulators to avoid a full sudden acceleration recall in 2007.

Toyota considered it a "win" when to avoid the sudden acceleration recall; to avoid an investigation into Tacoma rust problems; to delay implementing side-curtain air bags; and to delay implementation of better door locks.

When Toyota "wins", safety loses and people die. While Toyota has engaged in its delays and lies, at least 34 people have died and hundreds have been seriously and permanently injured. Toyota's actions ruined thousands of lives.

With respect to braking an out-of-control vehicle, Consumer Reports and ABC News have documented that the brakes on Toyota vehicles are underpowered and will not stop a Toyota vehicle accelerating out of control. You can see the video by clicking on the following links: ( LINK /automobile-accidents/toyota-sudden-acceleration-what-to-do-if-it-happens-to-you.aspx?googleid=274116" rel="nofollow"> LINK ) or ( LINK ).

When did become ok for a company to put profits ahead of safety? When did it become acceptable to put money ahead of human lives?

I have been following Toyota's sudden acceleration since last November. You can learn more at kansasity.injuryboard.com ( LINK ).

Posted by Brett Emison
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:57 PM EST

This is a remarkable set of comments. I find myself wondering why so many people would presume that this poor woman was sitting there lying to Congress when Toyota's lies about sudden acceleration are so well documented. I have documented many of Toyota's lies on a recent post you can view by clicking "more" ( LINK /automobile-accidents/toyota-recall-lies-lies-and-more-lies.aspx?googleid=278496" rel="nofollow"> LINK ). In my post, there are citations to the proof of each Toyota lie.

Some specific examples:

Toyota told the public there was no defect in the 3.8 million Toyota vehicles originally recalled because of sudden acceleration. NHTSA called out Toyota for making "inaccurate and misleading" statements.

Toyota said its vehicles were safe, but then its USA president, Jim Lentz, went on the Today show and refused to guarantee the "sticky pedal" fix.

Toyota USA president Lentz said publicly that Toyota didn't learn about the "sticky pedal" acceleration problem until October 2009. However, Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Toyota knew about the exact same "sticky" pedal acceleration problems in Europe since August 2008.

Toyota said it had fixed the sudden acceleration problem. However, at least four independent experts concluded that Toyota doesn't really know what causes sudden acceleration. Just today, Toyota USA president, Jim Lentz, admitted that Toyota's current recalls will NOT fix the sudden acceleration problem.

Toyota said it halted production of defective and recalled vehicles voluntarily. It didn't. Toyota was forced to halt production under pressure from NHTSA and the Department of Transportation.

Beyond Toyota's lies, let's just look at its conduct. Here's what we know so far:

Toyota fixed the "sticky" pedal problem in Europe last year while it was still denying the problem in the US.

Toyota failed to install a "smart pedal" brake override system that would have prevented nearly all of the injuries and deaths from sudden acceleration. This system has been used by other car makers for more than a decade and would have cost less than $1 per vehicle to design and install.

Toyota bragged that it saved itself $100 million by misleading federal regulators to avoid a full sudden acceleration recall in 2007.

Toyota considered it a "win" when to avoid the sudden acceleration recall; to avoid an investigation into Tacoma rust problems; to delay implementing side-curtain air bags; and to delay implementation of better door locks.

When Toyota "wins", safety loses and people die. While Toyota has engaged in its delays and lies, at least 34 people have died and hundreds have been seriously and permanently injured. Toyota's actions ruined thousands of lives.

With respect to braking an out-of-control vehicle, Consumer Reports and ABC News have documented that the brakes on Toyota vehicles are underpowered and will not stop a Toyota vehicle accelerating out of control. You can see the video by clicking on the following links: ( LINK /automobile-accidents/toyota-sudden-acceleration-what-to-do-if-it-happens-to-you.aspx?googleid=274116" rel="nofollow"> LINK ) or ( LINK ).

When did become ok for a company to put profits ahead of safety? When did it become acceptable to put money ahead of human lives?

I have been following Toyota's sudden acceleration since last November. You can learn more at kansasity.injuryboard.com ( LINK ).

Anonymous User
Posted by Amanda
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:29 PM EST

Rhonda, shame on you for placing a call while you have no control over your car. That's on a list of things you should NEVER do in a situation such as this, whatever the cause.

Anonymous User
Posted by Greg McFarlane
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:39 PM EST

I counted 5 holes in Ms. Smith's story, starting with the fact that she had a free hand to call the husband while presumably taxed with the life-or-death task of having to stop her car. If she can indeed remember her history of gear shift changes while the car was "doing 100 mph", they couldn't possibly have involved neutral and reverse.

Crying, 4 years later, regarding an incident in which no one got hurt? That's a nice touch, too. Was she sticking a pin into her ribs while behind the microphone?

Anonymous User
Posted by MR JIN
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 3:13 AM EST

Lexus 350 goes only 100MPH at full throttle?

I agree that a lot of her sayings are fishy.
But for all of you wanna be automobile experts,
YES is it possible for the car to keep going with brakes. If she floored her brake pedal once and kept it there patiently. Yes it would have stopped. However, there is a chance for brake failure had she panicked and TAPPED her brakes multiple times, which is a very understandable reaction after first attempt and car not slowing down as expected.

And many of you wannabe car experts arguments are based on working system.

If pedal malfunction 1/1000 x brake failure 1/1000 x transmission failure 1/1000. This is very possible. Also her memories of her actions can be skewed. Human memories are not very dependent especially in those situations. That doesn't mean that she is lying.

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 5:02 AM EST

Mr Jin basically gave the best explanation. While very slim, multiple failures can happen. But as somebody who has worked on cars beyond the simple oil change, brake failure is least likely. It still is a hydraulic system. There is no "brake by wire" on any car we know. For her brakes to be totally ineffective, both hydraulic lines to the front and back would have to be breached. By her own admission, she was able to slow the car down with her feet on the brake. So by her own admission, I think it is safe to say the brakes were functional.

And yes, we are on the same page about her memories. I do not think she is lying about her experience. She merely is recalling what she remembers. But in her panic, did she do or fail to do something and was unaware of it?

Brett, with all due respect, I have no respect for such news organizations like ABC after the Audi 5000 fiasco. We do not know the parameters of the test. For all we know, the brakes could have been modified. But on the other hand, we have a publication specifically for automobiles that has far more competent employees with far more automotive knowledge than an ABC news staffer. They were able to slow down a Camry under the same circumstances you mention and do it relatively quick. Is Car & Driver lying? Maybe, but very doubtful. But I feel they are far more credible than ABC news or CR, an organization that has been biased in their testing methodology.

If Toyota has been covering up something, then by all means help their victims get the justice they deserve. But there always does need to be a thorough investigation of something of Mrs Smith's magnitude. As with the Audi 5000, the facts do not add up.

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:05 AM EST

Donald,

Thanks for your comments. That you have no respect for news organizations is unfortunate. That information exists that you choose to ignore is not Ms. Smith's fault.

You don't have to take the news organizations' word regarding Toyota's outright lies. All the quotes came directly from Toyota. Most came directly from Mr. Lentz's interview on the Today Show.

It appears the link attached became broken during submission. You can fact check Toyota's lies at: LINK

I am fascinated that people would attack this woman while completely sanctioning Toyota's reprehensible conduct.

Anonymous User
Posted by Derek
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:41 AM EST

While i dont totally rule out things in her story. Being around cars and working on them most of my life, some of it sounds pretty fictional. As i dont ever want to see anyone hurt in any kind of accident, the United States had this coming to them and deserve everything they get not just Toyota. When you have selffish idiots in this country ship all their work overseas and put the american worker out of work when we have the greatest brands of cars out there makes me sick. So how many products can u find that say "Made in USA"??? NONE!!! I am ashamed to say that but its the truth. I hope this puts toyota under and get these foreign made death trap companies out of this country!!!! If people bought real american made products and this country made real american made stuff, everyone would have jobs and things would be alot more affordable and peaceful in this country!!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Clint
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:57 AM EST

Derek, a lot of the Camry's are built here in the USA, and the accelerator module that is at fault is made here in the USA, by a US company, "CTS". Please crawl back into your UAW office desk now.

Anonymous User
Posted by Leah
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:34 AM EST

In the first place Auto makers get your money not the UAW. Secondly, Toyota get's your money. I don't think she is lying or exaggerating. "My husband was able to shift into neutral, but when he did that, the car tried to start itself. The wrecker driver attested to this". Why would the wrecker driver perjuitre himself? He has nothing to gain or lose. A whole family died because of the problem . LINK

I don't own a Toyota nor do I want to. I am still driving my Honda and she has never let me down.

Anonymous User
Posted by Leah
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:35 AM EST

In the first place Auto makers get your money not the UAW. Secondly, Toyota get's your money. I don't think she is lying or exaggerating. "My husband was able to shift into neutral, but when he did that, the car tried to start itself. The wrecker driver attested to this". Why would the wrecker driver perjure himself? He has nothing to gain or lose. A whole family died because of the problem . LINK

I don't own a Toyota nor do I want to. I am still driving my Honda and she has never let me down.

Anonymous User
Posted by Leah
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:36 AM EST

In the first place Auto makers get your money not the UAW. Secondly, Toyota get's your money. I don't think she is lying or exaggerating. "My husband was able to shift into neutral, but when he did that, the car tried to start itself. The wrecker driver attested to this". Why would the wrecker driver perjure himself? He has nothing to gain or lose. A whole family died because of the problem . LINK

I don't own a Toyota nor do I want to. I am still driving my Honda and she has never let me down.

Anonymous User
Posted by Steve S.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:45 AM EST

Brett, A lot of your links that you place to directly fact check your claims seem to be broke and while I'm sure I could research it myself, I don't feel the need. There is absolutely no way that I'm believing that holding both feet on the brakes wouldn't at least take the car to freeway speeds. Bluntly, she's lying- I'd believe her if she were just upset, but crying over it.

And Brett, I'm sure I know what angle you're working for this...Good luck with it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Toyota lied about things, but I think its pretty unfair the way car companies get treated. When congress starts investigating every GM and Chrysler vehicle that I've driven or owned for their skating or skipping abs problems and straps them to the witchfire Then I wouldn't have such a problem with this.

Toyota has made such a good vehicle for years, that any glitch in their armor is a rally cry to attack.

Anonymous User
Posted by Betula
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:56 AM EST

According to the WSJ, the car is still on the road.......

LINK

She actually sold her car to someone after this incident!! She is a liar and I smell rat.

Government Motors needs to destroy it's competition.....this will all come out in the open in the end. It always does.

Anonymous User
Posted by Mike
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:57 AM EST

First of all, I am glad too see I am not the only one who is very critical of Mrs. Smith's testimony. As others have mentioned, the shifter, brake pedal, and emergency brake are all separate, mechanical systems. The electrical systems that control the accelerator and cruise control are also completely separate. There is yet another electrical system that shuts off the engine if the car is going forward when reverse is engaged. To anyone mechanically and/or electrically inclined, the story she presents makes no sense.

Also, the governor on these cars is between 120 and 130 MPH, so it makes no sense the car would stop accelerating at 100 MPH. And how is it she did not collide with anything while on the freeway? Because of traffic, I would find it very difficult to keep a steady 100 MPH for several minutes unless it was the middle of the night (at many times of day it is difficult to even break the speed limit).

The most interesting part of her story was the call to her husband, which occurred after she remembered to try the emergency brake and shift into reverse or neurtral, but before she thought to turn the key off or call 9-1-1 (the latter of which I did not hear mentioned at all in her testimony). I found it to be far too dramatic when she included that she wanted to "hear his voice one more time."

One final point I would like to make is that I believe Toyota is handling this situation horribly, which is making it all the worse for themselves. I believe they are being reactive to a situation that requires a proactive approach, and their continued claims the situation is "resolved" are starting to fall on deaf ears.

I was pleased to find this board and I look forward to reading future comments.

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 11:36 AM EST

Steve,

It does appear that many of the links broke during submission of the comment. You can fact-check Toyota's lies at the following link: LINK

How, exactly, is Toyota being treated unfairly? Toyota has admittedly known about a design flaw that has killed at least 34 Americans and serious injured countless more. Toyota ignored countless warning signs dating back to 2003; bought off federal regulators to avoid recalls; doctored test results to avoid recalls; lied to the American public; and fixed problems in Europe without fixing them here? Please explain how holding Toyota accountable for such reprehensible conduct is unfair?

I simply do not buy the "other companies did it too" excuse. If other companies did it too, they should also be held accountable. We should not have a "race to the bottom" mentality toward safety.

I agree that auto regulators don't do enough to ensure safety and provide oversight. Did you know the car companies get to choose which tests they send to NHTSA for compliance? The companies can run a test where their vehicle fails 9 out 10. They just need to send the one test that passed for NHTSA for compliance!

As for your comment that you are "sure [you] know what angle you're working for this" -- what do you mean by that? what angle do you think I'm working? I want cars to be safe. If someone has been injured or killed by a dangerous product through no fault of their own, I want to make sure that the negligent person is held accountable. Bad actors should be held accountable to (1) make sure the injured party receives the help they need and deserve; and (2) to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to someone else.

I don't know that you are attacking lawyers or the jury system. I hope you are not. Too many people are too quick to simply give away the most basic protection offered under the constitution -- the right to a fair and impartial jury of your peers.

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 11:45 AM EST

More on Toyota sudden acceleration and the testing that proves electronics can cause unintended acceleration can be found at the following links: ( LINK ) and ( LINK )

Anonymous User
Posted by Sheldon Botha
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:01 PM EST

Give me a break, that story was probably scripted by her attorney, here comes the class action law suit bandwagon.
What a crock, shift into reverse at 100mph and not drop your tranny?, GIVE ME A BREAK.
I can believe the car accelerated from the accelerator getting stuck, but this story is like the "it was this big" that comes back from a fishing trip.

A lie is a lie, and my personal opinion is the good ol slimy lawyer is wanting to sue and make up as many stories as possible for this event.

Here we go again with "I burnt my mouth on coffee, lets sue them".
I respect the fact that this may have happened to her, but when you BLATANTLY LIE multiple times like this, you are no longer a credible witness.

Brakes are based on hydrolics, there is no way this would not have slowed down, the reverse gear would have drop the tranny, neutral would have disengaged the tranny from the motor.

And in all the panic she calls hubby on the phone, oh write us a soap opera why dont you.

I would have had far more respect and concern for her if she was just honest, it is obvious to any technically minded person that half of what she has said is not possible.

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:05 PM EST

Rhonda Smith and her husband, Eddie's comments are listed on this House Committee Web site so you can see it for yourself before you decide she is not telling the truth. The lack of compassion for fellow human beings honestly scares me.

LINK :response-by-toyota-and-nhtsa-to-incidents-of-sudden-unintended-acceleration&catid=133:subcommittee-on-oversight-and-investigations&Itemid=73

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:22 PM EST

Interested in Day 2 of Toyota hearings? Go to C-Span 3. Ray LaHood is testifying now:

LINK

Anonymous User
Posted by Sheldon Botha
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:26 PM EST

And I have seen the comments as have others.
I have plenty of concern for the fact that the accelerator may have become jammed.
But her story is NOT credible.
Any mechanic or person with basic understanding there of will know that half of her events are not possible.

Is she mistaken?, does she not recall the events 100%?....maybe.
But in the end the company's reputation has already taken a massive blow, in testimony you are wanting the truth....correct?, if these events are not possible due to the mechanics involved, this needs to be raised.

Its as simple as that, in the end we dont want some made up story, we want the truth.
Toyota needs to fix the problems at hand and make amends for its short comings, I have had many Toys and will continue to support them, I have been lucky enough to not ever have a problem...that is not to say that I never will.

I have no tolerance for which hunts, and I have a very bad feeling in my gut that her original story that she once had has been blown up with added extra's....my suspicion is the attorney....why?

Well that one is pretty obvious from history's perspective now isnt it?

Anonymous User
Posted by Marion Rendini
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:54 PM EST

Lotus & Toyota Critic - Why would Rhonda Smith lie? She didn't get hurt and wasn't suing. So, why? Because she's absolutely correct in assessing her situation. The same exact acceleration problem happened to me 3 years ago. I proceeded to pass a car on its left. I then went back into the right lane, but the my 2007 Camry kept accelerating. I remember seeing the car reach 80 mph. The breaks were frozen like a block of ice. I pressed the brake with both feet. The emergency brake did nothing. I put my foot under the accelerator pedal to make sure it was in the up position, and it was. I was finding it hard to control the car. I was on a two lane country road. Luckily there were no cars in front of me. Thank God my son was in the passenger seat. He also reached over with his hand to make sure the accelerator pedal was in the up position. He then threw the car into neutral which somewhat slowed the car down. Then he spotted an open field on the side of the road where he told me to steer over to. He then had to throw the car into park to get it to stop. This happened 1 minute before we would have been entering a 5 way intersection. I told my dealership what happened, and had them tow the car back to Brooklyn. They supposedly checked the car but could find no malfunction. An arbitration was held with my son and I, a mediator, and a condescending Toyota Corporate representative. The woman representing Toyota kept insisting that the mat was the problem. Ultimately, that was a waste of time. Just a week ago I had my dealership finally admit to my face that they didn't believe me at that time of the incident. Now they do!!! I kept telling them that it wasn't the floor mat. I've recently had my pedal changed according to the recall. But I still don't think it's that simple. I have always thought it to be an electrical problem. I only hope they're right about this pedal problem. What bothers me is that it took something like the loss of lives to get Toyota to take action. Three years ago I had done some research on this problem, and learned that this problem had indeed existed since 2004. This was not an isolated problem. It was happening all over the United States. I wasn't looking to sue or harm Toyota's reputation in any way. I just wanted them to know that they had a big problem. Luckily my son and I weren't hurt, just shook up quite a bit. Toyota had the chance to do the right thing, but it took government intervention for them to take this problem seriously. So, I guess the definition of Corporate America is money first, human life second. I can't buy the fact that Toyota was oblivious to this situation until recently. I found all I needed to know regarding the sudden acceleration problem on the internet. Isn't Toyota hooked up to the same Internet?????

Anonymous User
Posted by Lyn
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:15 PM EST

Interesting comments on this subject. However, automotive systems have become extremely complex and most of the mechanical commentary here associated with Toyotas troubles is coming from individuals with very limited knowledge of these systems or outdated knowledge of older ones. I believe that Mrs. Smith’s testimony recalls to the best of her knowledge the events of that fateful day. While some of these events could have happened as she describes, some are doubtful or unlikely. For instance, the sudden unintended acceleration of her vehicle likely did happen. The application of her brake as she describes not stopping the vehicle could happen as well. A properly functioning vehicle braking system has been shown to be able to stop a vehicle in full acceleration. However, let’s consider something else. Her vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system. This system is designed to interrupt fluid pressure to the brake calipers at each wheel in order to prevent wheel lock up and loss of traction. Her vehicle is also equipped with speed control designed to automatically control the speed of the vehicle. Uncontrolled acceleration and deceleration were the issues here. These two systems when malfunctioning together could explain her unfortunate incident. Both the speed control and the anti-lock brakes are controlled by onboard computers and, in some cases, share information from various sensors such as the throttle position sensor or perhaps speed sensors. This complex interaction of systems could be malfunctioning due to software or hardware issues. She indicated that the speed (cruise) control light came on. If this happened without her input, this would indicate that the onboard computer could be controlling the vehicles speed due to a malfunction and could also be causing the loss of brake pressure due to faulty information feed to the ABS system. Exactly how this could happen is beyond my knowledge but it seems logical. As for shifting the transmission into neutral or park, I’m not so sure. If this vehicle is equipped with a mechanical shift linkage, shifting into neutral would disengage the drive system and slow the vehicle. Shifting into park while moving at higher speed however, takes considerable physical power, speed, and luck. A parking pawl, or gear, in the transmission spinning at this rate would be extremely difficult to engage and would likely result in considerable damage to the transmission if indeed it were to be done successfully. If, however, the vehicle were to be equipped with some sort of electronic mode engagement for the transmission, her recollection of shifting the transmission with no response from the vehicle would seem more plausible due to the possible interference of the shifting mechanism from other malfunctioning electronics. I have no knowledge of Toyotas exact systems referred to here, but I’ll bet that I am very close to their problem. Floor mats and pedals may contribute, but they are not the main issue in this case.
Just my opinion,
Lyn

Anonymous User
Posted by david
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:41 PM EST

Shame On You, Rhonda Smith for lying!

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:43 PM EST

Lies, lies and more lies - fact check the lies by clicking on "more":( LINK )

Posted by Bret Hanna
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:57 PM EST

I just listened to a discussion on NPR's Diane Rehm show which addressed, in part, Rhonda Smith's testimony concerning her experience with sudden acceleration. One of the guests was Paul Atkinson, a Houston area Toyota dealer and the chairman of the Toyota National Dealer Council. When asked about Rhonda's story, he said it was heart wrenching and compelling. He did not say a word about it being impossible for it to have happened as she describes, etc. It certainly seems like he would be in a position to refute her story, if she is lying, and that he would have taken the opportunity to do so. He clearly felt comfortable taking on the other guests,who are safety advocates, over Toyota's handling of the recalls. And don't you think it is quite risky to watlz into a congressional hearing and lie through your teeth? The world is watching this issue very closely, as the number of comments here demonstrates, so I can't imagine anyone thinking they could get away with such a stunt.

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 2:22 PM EST

Mr. Toyoda is testifying now!
C-Span 3- hearings
LINK

He is expected to apologize

Anonymous User
Posted by Laura
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:30 PM EST

I purchased a 2010 Camry last August. Since then, I have not had any problems. However, the cruise control, which is a switch located on the side of the steering wheel similar to the turn signal, moves with the steering wheel when it turns. In other words, when I turn the steering wheel to make a right turn, the cruise control switch is now pointing down at my lap, or at a 90 degree angle.

Why is this important? Because since I have owned my car, I have accidentally turn on the cruise control 4 times. That's right, I turned the steering wheel and unknowingly hit the switch and turned on the cruise control. The first time was when taking the on-ramp to get on the freeway. I believe this is a dangerous place for the cruise control switch because it is easily turned on without one's knowledge. Moreover, I was told that once the cruise control is engaged if you hit the resume switch, you will increase your speed by 5 miles per hour rather than 1 mile per hour - I haven't tested this theory though. The bottom line, Rhonda Smith was driving a brand new Lexus with a mere 3,000 miles on it AND she noted that the cruise control switch was on when it sped out of control. Did she turn on the cruise control switch when she entered the highway by mistake? In an effort to try and turn off the cruise control - in a car that was new and she wasn't really that familar with - did she then hit the resume switch and increase her speed? I don't know what she did in that car but I do know that the cruise control switch in my car is in a very dangerous place, especially for someone who is not familar with the car. I have heard that the co-founder of Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak, has a Toyota Prius and had a similar problem with his cruise control.

Anonymous User
Posted by Arecibo
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 5:29 PM EST

It's the driver's responsibility to be able to respond to emergencies properly. Based on what she said, it appears to be a combination of her not understanding what "neutral" does (her description of events indicate it DID disengage the drive shaft, but she panicked and started throwing it around in different gears because she has zero understanding of how anything works even at the most basic level) and not operating the brakes properly and blaming it on the manufacturer (all she did was burn them out).

I program various microcontrollers as a hobby (I'm a software developer, but don't work professionally on embedded systems), so on the Toyota front, their systems development team definitely dropped the ball. This is actually pretty surprising, as Toyota's management style ("The Toyota Way") is something that should be emulated in all disciplines, and is in fact often studied in software engineering and general business management curricula. They have put people first for an incredibly long time, with design and manufacturing policies that have set the bar higher than American companies ever have - so dropping the ball like this, as they have, is frightening in a sense.

This doesn't, however, mean that we aren't responsible. As incredibly strict as projects where lives are at stake are, there's never going to be a halt to unforeseen bugs in these systems (the number of serious issues with them that haven't gotten any press is deafening; if you've driven a GM in the last few years, the fact that they've repeatedly botched the accelerator's controller and gave it a passing grade each time should make you worry about their standards). There are always going to be mechanical issues - failure probabilities will never, ever reach zero. To a man - and woman - we have to KNOW how to handle these situations. If you drive for six miles with a pinned accelerator and the only thing actually keeping the car from stopping was your lack of basic knowledge that every driver is responsible to know, that's actually your fault - and no one else's. It doesn't mean that Toyota should not be severely investigated (though American companies really should be as well), but it does mean that it's not carte blanche for you to be a vapid moron on the road.

Anonymous User
Posted by Arecibo
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 5:51 PM EST

@Brett Emmison

Your comments on the number of fatalities is severely disingenuous. You said:

"While Toyota has engaged in its delays and lies, at least 34 people have died and hundreds have been seriously and permanently injured."

This implies that Toyota's lack of action on this specific issue has claimed 34 lives, which is patently false - and you're completely aware of it. The statistic you quote is the number of consumer allegations since 2000. Though certainly not to be taken lightly, it also has to be kept in mind that this in no way means that the deaths are related to this specific problem; that they are related to negligence on the part of Toyota; as well, complaints of fatalities since the recall was announced have the possibility of being biased by media sensationalism. They have not yet been investigated by the NHTSA, let alone have any conclusive cause attributed to them.

I'm just curious why you said this; were you imprecise in your wording to the point of libel, completely unaware as to the origin of those statistics and simply used media reporting to draw your conclusion, or did you want to deliberately misinform people?

Anonymous User
Posted by Laura
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 5:58 PM EST

The comments above are totally disturbing. Rhonda is a woman of integrity, whom I know personally. I remember when this incident happened. She couldn't recount the events without being in tears. Her tears are real and not put on, even today. They are not doing this for any money compensation, if you knew them, you would know that they are not hurting for money,they are trying to save lives!! They have been trying to get Toyota to listen to them and fix the problem vehicles ever since this had happened 4 yrs ago. They aren't just speaking out now. Its only now, after several deaths that they are finally taking it serious. You were not there, you don't know the terror she experienced. By the way, regarding the telephone call made during the time of distress, if you know anything about blue-tooth technology, you would know that your hands are free with the less than one second exception to push the button. Do everyone who has been hurt by Toyotas greed a favor and LAY OFF!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:15 PM EST

Brett Emison, first off I want you to know that I support your profession as the average joe needs people in your profession to protect us in such an event. We could never hope to ever have a fighting chance against us without representation from members of your profession. A poster may have made a comment about slimy lawyers, but they would no longer be slimy to him/her if one was needed. While some members of the legal profession may have indeed used questionable ethics and procedures, it is wrong to lump all in a profession due to the actions of a few.

OK, bootlicking aside now. :) With regards to my distrust of news organizations, what means do they have to verify that brakes were applied properly? Is there a device that would indicate that a driver is indeed putting, say, 40 or 60 pounds of pressure on the pedal? Can we be certain that the brake systems were not modified or received tampering such as introducing air into the lines and/or removing fluid? 60 Minutes DELIBERATELY modified an Audi 5000 to duplicate the runaway acceleration as reported in the show. No driver in the real world with their own car could duplicate such a condition. So I feel that news outlets could have indeed modified a car to do what it wants. I have no qualms with, say, ABC, for reporting a news item. And I have no reason to even entertain the belief that Lentz's and Toyoda's statements are merely news fabrications. As I am sure that you and your partners at your firm would agree, Toyota's internal documents are no better than the infamous Pinto Memo. I just have serious reservations about their ability to take any UNALTERED car and duplicate the problems with 100% reliability.

Now back to my comment on brakes. No matter what types of fancy electronics are installed on a modern braking system, it is still a piston actuated hydraulic system. No electronic interference can stop the flow of hydraulic fluid to the wheels. The only thing that can cause a problem for people is possible loss of power assist that occurs under WOT conditions. Then you would be at manual brakes. Manual brakes CAN and WILL stop a car, Brett. That is my only issue here with the claims that the brakes did not work. My first car was a 74 Chevrolet Nova with manual brakes and 4 wheel drum brakes! Curb weight for that car was around 3,400lbs. The Lexus ES Mrs Smith drove has a curb weight also around 3,400lbs. Brett, if I could stop a 3,400lb car that has manual drum brakes from speeds GREATER than said Lexus, it is very possible to stop a 3,400lb car with 4wheel disc brakes that lost their power assist. If anything, can people provide the required pedal pressure?

As for the transmission Brett, take a look at the Lexus shifter gates at LINK when you can. Notice how close the full auto gate is to the "manumatic" gate? That is not a large detent at all. In a panic, it would be way too easy to move the shifter into the manumatic gate. In that case, 1 or 2 successive forward pushes would never engage neutral let alone reverse. It should also be noted that Mrs Smith only had 3000 miles on her car. So that probably would indicate a total length of ownership of 3 months. In that time, was she truly able to learn her vehicle inside and out? The Saylor's vehicle was a rental so in that case, vehicle unfamiliarity may have been a contributing factor.

Brett, I am not trying to be adversarial. Nor would I ever cast aspersions on your profession. Do I feel that Toyota got greedy? YES. Did they get burned by excessive cost cutting? OH YES. Do I feel that execs from Mr Toyoda on down engaged in lying or obfuscation of the truth? YES. Do I feel they could have done a lot more? HECK YES! Do I feel that Rhonda Smith is lying? NO. Do I feel she seeks financial gain? HECK NO! I just merely feel that she may have, in her panic, not performed the actions she said she did. That is why I would always suggest that whenever such a case comes before you or your partners, you make every effort to acquire whatever data recorder may be present. If Toyota happens to claim engine RPM were in a normal operating range of, say 2100 yet the data recorder indicates 5,000 or more, it would be a great benefit to expose any deceit from an automaker. For my GM car, the data recorder is in the air bag control module.

Brett, one of my forklifts I operate at my job has a kill switch or a panic button. It is a mechanical circuit breaker and when pressed, all battery power is interrupted to every component save for the display. In short, it renders the lift inoperable. Only by restarting will the breaker reset. Such a breaker would indeed be a lifesaving addition on cars with what I feel is excessive electronics and automation.

And Brett, I thank you for your thoughtful and professional reply. I am glad we could debate this w/o resorting to insults. :)

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:23 PM EST

@ Arecibo,

Thank you for your comments, but your premise is simply wrong. There is nothing "disingenuous" or incorrect about my statement.

I said: "While Toyota has engaged in its delays and lies, at least 34 people have died and hundreds have been seriously and permanently injured."

That is a true statement. That is a fact. I didn't make up that fact. That fact comes from NHTSA. That fact has been reported a thousand times over in hundreds of different publications, web sites and videos. I didn't conjure that fact and miracle the connection between these injuries and deaths and Toyota's sudden acceleration problem.

That statistic does come from the safety experts in Washington who are responsible for ensuring the safety of automobiles in the US. That fact is the number of deaths reported to NHTSA by Toyota owners from runaway Toyota vehicles.

It is not disingenuous to report that fact. It is disingenuous to acknowledge the fact, but then to discount its relevance, as you have done.

Did you hear either Jim Lentz or Akio Toyota dispute those numbers at either Congressional hearing yesterday or today? If so, direct me to that testimony.

What I heard them say is that Toyota forgot that safety should be its number one priority. I heard them apologize to the families of those injured and killed by the sudden acceleration problem. I heard them say that electronic errors could cause the sudden acceleration problem. I heard them admit that independent experts like Sean Kane and professor David Gilbert were correct.

I'm curious why you would defend a company that so blatantly lied and put the Japanese yen ahead of American lives. Is Toyota really the horse you want to back in this race?

Thanks again for your comment.

Anonymous User
Posted by Fisher
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:31 PM EST

Just the most bizarre testimony I have ever heard. It just makes no sense:

1. The brakes were obviously working because she was able to stop.

2. She called her husband in the middle of flying down the highway at 100mph. Really?

3. She put the car in neutral gear and it keeps going. Impossible.

4. She put the car in reverse? Was there damage to the transmission?

5. What about what should have been the obvious reaction to a stuck accelerator.

I think the problem was with the cruise control and she no idea how to disengage it.

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:35 PM EST

Donald,

Thank you for you kind words. I do appreciate your position and it appears that there is much common ground on which we stand.

I do not know the specifics of Ms. Smith's case. However, I am knowledgeable about the Toyota acceleration defect. I have read the studies. I have talked with Sean Kane several times since this story broke last fall. I have received dozens of calls from people across the country who have experienced the sudden acceleration problem.

I have heard from numerous people that the brakes would not stop the vehicle. As demonstrated in the Consumer Reports video, if someone makes a simple mistake like pumping the brakes rather than slamming the brakes, the brakes can fade and be rendered completely useless in only a matter of seconds.

Also, recall that Mark Saylor was an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer -- likely a highly skilled driver with emergency driving training. He also had 3 family members in the vehicle with him. Despite this, he could not stop the out-of-control Lexus vehicle and he and his family died tragically. Akio Toyoda - the head of Toyota - apologized to the Saylor family today at the congressional hearing.

If Officer Saylor could not stop the runaway vehicle, what are the chances that grandma or grandpa or junior could stop the runaway vehicle? These vehicles are designed for drivers of all ages and skill levels. Toyota had a duty to these drivers -- and all other drivers on the road.

Your point about a cut-off switch is an excellent point (although some tweaking to allow for power steering and braking would be required). Also, Toyota could have implemented a "smart brake" system that would override the throttle. Those systems have been around for more than a decade and would have cost less than $1 per vehicle. Toyota didn't do it.

Toyota failed to live up to its duty and put money ahead of lives. That's wrong no matter how you slice it.

Thanks again for your engaging discussion.

Anonymous User
Posted by Beth Fay
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:54 PM EST

Too bad the mainstream media hasn't kept all Chrysler, Ford and GM safety recalls in the headlines for three months straight . . . they'd be out of business for sure . . . too many members of Congress have a vested interest in the so-called "Big 3" and that conflict of interests appears to be at least a partial motivator in crucifying Toyota. My husband and I have owned 7 Toyotas between us, and haven't had a single malfunction of any sort, and the three we now own were made in the same time frame as those in the recall. I heard Rhonda Smith later sold her Lexus to another family that has now put 27,000 more miles on it without any problems. My friends who have purchased new GM's and Chryslers in the past 5 years have had nothing but endless problems. I'd still rather drive a Toyota than any other car, hands down. This is much ado about nothing. Ford's handling of the Pinto's exploding gas tanks was far worse and I don't recall the media covering it for 3 months straight, every night of the week, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

Anonymous User
Posted by Snowcrash395
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 7:03 PM EST

I don't think Smith was lying. She may be quite capable in other situations, but she didn't know what she was doing with the car in this incident. She says that eventually she put the car in neutral and heard a revving sound.

I'm amazed that no one asked about the implications of that. The revving sound means that putting the car in neutral did exactly what it's supposed to do - it disengaged the drive train. If Smith had left it in neutral she would have been able to stop the car within a few yards, but she panicked upon hearing the revving sound and took the car out of neutral.

*She put it in back in drive* and she was off to the races again.

I'm not saying Toyota should be let off the hook, but I am saying that people should be familiar with the vehicles they drive. The fact is that Rhonda Smith was behaving like a passenger in the car, when she should have been acting like an operator.

Cars don't run on magic and they don't stop because of "a miracle", as Smith claimed. There are physical reasons for what cars do and Smith is partly responsible for the incident because she didn't know how to react to a malfunction. She - and everyone else - needs to own up to the fact that we all need to anticipate accidents and malfunctions and plan for them.

Learn at least the basics about your car before you take it out on the road!

Anonymous User
Posted by Arecibo
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:04 PM EST

Brett,

The only fact that's been reported by these hundreds of websites is that the NHTSA indicated at that time that they had received allegations from consumers that 34 deaths were caused by the issue. Saying anything beyond that is not what the NHTSA itself is claiming regarding many of these fatalities, especially since a third of them were received in the span of the last few weeks covering accidents of the last five years.

It could be very well true that every single fatality reported is a result of this issue. However, I'll wait for NHTSA findings from their investigations rather than extrapolate raw complaints as incontrovertible evidence.

It's certainly not a defense of Toyota. I don't drive one, I don't work for them nor know anyone who does, and I have no vested interest in them avoiding serious punishment for any wrongdoing. But I'm also more interested in ensuring th

Posted by Brett Emison
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:20 PM EST

Arecibo,

Thanks again for commenting. It seems I still don't follow your premise. NHTSA has received complaints of 34 deaths resulting from Toyota sudden acceleration. Chances are those allegations are accurate. At this time, they are the best information we have to go on as far as "official" reports of sudden acceleration deaths. But I can't refer to them in commentary or articles?

It would irresponsible to ignore the reports. If what you want is acknowledgement that some of the reports are still under investigation -- I have not disputed that.

You're comment was cut off at the bottom, so I am not sure what you are interested in ensuring. I am interested in ensuring that all vehicles on the roadway are safe. I'm interested in Toyota finally accepting responsibility for this problem and fixing it.

Thanks again for commenting and engaging in a reasonable and cordial debate.

Anonymous User
Posted by okiehawk44
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:14 PM EST

Ms Smith lost me when she said she totally engaged the emergency brake...

At high speed this would cause the vehicle to "fishtail" out of control and with her limited experience with this vehicle (less than 3000 miles total of which she put on how many?) that would have caused her even greater panic.

I hate to add a new wrinkle to this discussion but if this vehicle was tampered with in some or in many ways who would have done that? Was someone tryimg to kill Mrs. Smith?

Anonymous User
Posted by Snowcrash
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:19 PM EST

I don't know about that, okiehawk. I've practiced fishtailing on the beach with the car by turning while pulling the emergency brake on. Get a pretty nice fishtail out of it that way, but it doesn't fishtail unless I jerk the brake up suddenly. If the brake gets pulled up gradually it doesn't fishtail. If Smith engaged the emergency brake at 80 or 90 gradually, I doubt it would have helped her much.

But the fact that she said she put the car in neutral and then heard the engine rev means she did have it in neutral before she hit full speed, but didn't realize it was helping her because the sound of the engine revving up scared her and she took it out of neutral. She admitted that. If she had known the basics about her car, she would have been spared her now famous wild ride.

Anonymous User
Posted by Snowcrash
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:23 PM EST

Are the reports that Rhonda Smith sold the car correct?

Did Smith tearfully disclose the details of her six mile ordeal to the person who bought the demon Toyota from her the way she did three years later in her testimony to the US Congress?

Anonymous User
Posted by Toyotas
Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:48 AM EST

From WSJ
The Lexus sedan driven by Rhonda Smith, who testified in Congress Tuesday about a harrowing incident of sudden acceleration, is still on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In fact, the new owners of the luxury ES350 sedan have reported 27,000 miles trouble-free with the vehicle, according to a NHTSA spokeswoman. Mrs. Smith and her husband sold the vehicle after the incident, in which she thought she might die.
The federal safety agency followed up with the new owners last week. A NHTSA spokeswoman said "they have had no problems with the Lexus since they bought it with less than 3,000 miles on the car

Anonymous User
Posted by Betula
Thursday, February 25, 2010 9:25 AM EST

Snowcrash...

Exactly. If she sold the car to someone else, how concerned was she about the car and the people she sold it to? Meanwhile, she's calling Toyota "greedy"...

Once again, here's the article from the WSJ claiming the car is still on the road... LINK

Did she have the car fixed before she sold it? If so, what was the problem? Were the gears of the car ever checked after she claims she put it in reverse? Who checked the car? Did the people she sold it to know it had problems?

Anonymous User
Posted by Linda McConville
Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:02 AM EST

Now we learn that the Smith's sold their Lexus and the new owners have never had a problem and have put 27,000 miles on it.... Why isn't this info brought before Congress.... Shame on both of the Smith's ,,,, selling a faulty car to unsuspecting buyers.... Greed ,,,

Anonymous User
Posted by Linda McConville
Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:02 AM EST

Now we learn that the Smith's sold their Lexus and the new owners have never had a problem and have put 27,000 miles on it.... Why isn't this info brought before Congress.... Shame on both of the Smith's ,,,, selling a faulty car to unsuspecting buyers.... Greed ,,,

Anonymous User
Posted by Linda McConville
Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:03 AM EST

Now we learn that the Smith's sold their Lexus and the new owners have never had a problem and have put 27,000 miles on it.... Why isn't this info brought before Congress.... Shame on both of the Smith's ,,,, selling a faulty car to unsuspecting buyers.... Greed ,,,

Anonymous User
Posted by iwantmoneymoneymoney
Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:06 AM EST

according to the Wall street journal she sold her this car in 2006( only 3000milage). The next owner has been driving to now ( 27000 milage) he never has any problem. Why she could sell such a dengerous car ?

I have one more question. How could anyone make a phone call while driving at 100mph in the midst of sheer panic ?

Anonymous User
Posted by Lyn
Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:18 AM EST

Donald,
Quote:
"No matter what types of fancy electronics are installed on a modern braking system, it is still a piston actuated hydraulic system. No electronic interference can stop the flow of hydraulic fluid to the wheels."

You are absolutely incorrect. How do you think anti-lock brakes function? They are designed to regulate the amount of hydraulic pressure in the brake lines to each wheel. This regulation is controlled by valves which in turn are controlled by computers. The computers rely on information sent from sensors on various components of the vehicle to function correctly and in concert with other onboard systems. Corrupt or incompatible information can cause computer control systems to do strange things especially in a complex, integrated system such as a modern automobile. IF an electronic control system failure or malfunction is occurring, it may be possible for the pressure control valves to close resulting in little or no brake function. It may also be possible for this control system failure to affect or be affected by other electronically operated systems such as Electronic Speed Control, Electronic Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, etc. Thanks

Anonymous User
Posted by hino
Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:54 AM EST

Did Rhonda sell her Lexus to the new owner by herself? If so, she is truly greedy. She sold her Lexus even though she believed it was defective. If she believed the Lexus had no problem when she sold it, why does she claim the issue again today? It seems that she is just trying to get indemnity.

Anonymous User
Posted by Laura
Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:06 PM EST

To put all your minds at ease, Rhonda and Eddie did not sell the car. When the incident occured, the car was towed to the dealership. When it was inspected they told the Smith's that there was nothing wrong with it, electronically,and that they could pick it back up. Of course, they refused to take it back. Wouldn't you?? I will say this one more time, Rhonda was not lying, she was terrified beyond words, and she would never had sold THAT vehicle to anyone else. Now, with that said, the dealership's greed may have resold the car, in which I believe is the case.

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:38 PM EST

Laura- I assume you are a friend or associate of the Smiths or otherwise in a position to know. If so, I'm glad you clarified the reports everyone seems so eager to jump on as justification for their own cynical view of the world. Rhonda and Eddie Smith are invited to do a one-on-one interview with me, anytime. Just a Q and A session. Anytime. I'm glad she survived to tell her story. Others did not.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ray "the hood" LaHood
Friday, February 26, 2010 6:57 PM EST

The truth comes out: Wall St Journal reported yesterday that Mrs. Smith has not 1, not 2, but 3 floormats in her vehicle at the time, Lie 1.
They also reported that Mrs. Smith traded her vehicle for another Toyota, a Tundra. She didn't tell us this, Lie 2. The person who purchased her ES 300 has had driven it for the last several years with NO problems and the vehicle now has over 30k miles. Toyota repurchased the units and NO DEFECTS have been found. Mrs. Smith was PAID to testify bu Sean Keane and the group of 5 law firms who have filed class action law suits. I could cry on command to - give me 100 million

Anonymous User
Posted by ted
Friday, February 26, 2010 7:44 PM EST

Excerpt from Business Week
The Toyota Witch Hunt
by Ed Wallace
Her local Lexus dealer examined her car and could find nothing. Then, as Ms. Smith related, the NHTSA actually sent an employee down to Tennessee to investigate her complaint. Only the NHTSA concluded that she had two sets of floor mats in her car—a rubber all-weather floor mat, placed on top of the standard factory issue—and it was likely that situation had created her problem. In fact, Smith was quoted in 2007 as saying, "I think it's sad that these mats were installed like they were. The Smiths dismissed the dealer's findings.

Anonymous User
Posted by Laura
Friday, February 26, 2010 9:57 PM EST

Well, its obvious that the Wall Street Journal must not have the their facts straight. Don't believe everything you read.

Anonymous User
Posted by JP
Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:34 AM EST

I reselled a car with the possibility to lose its life.
The American trusting such a shameless woman please do not associate with Japan.

U.S.A. is unnecessary in Japan.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ted
Saturday, February 27, 2010 11:57 AM EST

Excerpt
Mark Smith
Feb 26, 2010 8:08 PM GMT
Finally, the truth is coming out. I personally managed tire & auto repair shops (Goodyear and Bridgestone Firestone) for over 29 years and far and away the least amount of breakdowns, problems and repairs were on Toyota vehicles. The poor Japanese management are too polite to tell the American public that most of their problems are of their own making. Of course, when there is a chance for some lawsuit restitution, people will come out all over, with claims of Toyota failures, so hopefully they can "cash In". In my opinion, people who shy away from purchasing Toyotas because of this "witch hunt" would be making a huge mistake in their next vehicle buying decision.

Anonymous User
Posted by Frank
Saturday, February 27, 2010 5:25 PM EST

I find Rhonda Smith's testimony appalling and pitiful. It's clearly unbelievable to anyone with any sense as to how cars are designed. And should be clear to anyone who has any experience driving them. If you want to falsely sue Toyota for beaucoup $$$, please have the sense to makeup a more plausible story. Don't insult the intelligence of most of us. And if any congressman found her testimony the least bit credible, this country is in worse shape than I thought. Hope this is not the best witness they can come up with or else the government will have do the next apology.

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Saturday, February 27, 2010 9:12 PM EST

Lyn, you forgot one thing I said. I have worked on modern brake systems before. While I am not an ASE certified mechanic or the like, I know exactly how ABS works. Simply put, there is an exciter ring at each hub and a sensor pickup at the ring. When the sensor detects excessive deceleration, the antilock system begins the ubiquitous pedal pulsation. Now while it is possible that the control valves for all 4 lines could could remain closed, remember how ABS works. It has to receive a faulty signal from the exciter ring first. Until the exciter ring sends that signal, ABS functions like a low-tech standard braking system. So the first press of a pedal would work. But Mrs Smith's own testimony indicates she did get the car slowed down. As Brett Emison and I noted, power assist is lost under engine acceleration. Yet while at a steady cruising speed, be it 10mph or 120mph, vacuum is present and power assist functions. I feel she merely lost power assist under an acceleration condition.

Brett Emison, I did a test of my own on a freeway early in the morning. I ran my car up to speeds approaching 70mph (just 5mph above the legal limit where I am at) and under acceleration, I still could stop the car with loss of power assist. As I mentioned earlier, I drive a manual transmission vehicle and as such, the brake pedal is too small to place both feet upon it. However, and this is one thing I hope readers of this thread can take note of, I was able to increase my leverage by holding onto the steering wheel and pulling myself towards the wheel. That greatly magnified my available pedal pressure. So if any reader here experiences loss of brake power assist, remember that "trick." Anyway, the idea of a brake override is a very good idea, but there needs to be a way to determine how much power to cut. On a freeway with, say, a 65mph speed limit, engine power should not drop to an idle condition to slow the car from 65 to, say, 55 when encountering heavy traffic. How would such a system be best implemented?

A little bit about me, Brett. I work in the juvenile products industry and my company is one of the top rated manufacturers of child car restraints. I, unlike some Toyota execs, take my job seriously. An end user of the car seat that I may have built is placing their implicit trust in my ability to build a seat that will save the lives of their young children in a car crash. I could not live with myself knowing that I may have taken a shortcut that in the end, caused a defective seat to enter the market and thus malfunction and cost a young child their life. Apparently Lentz and others did not see it that way. But like in all other such cases you and your partners have litigated, such a desire to cut costs and save money ends up costing them sales when their lies are made public. In the end, they would have saved money by fixing their products and keeping their reputations intact. But alas, nobody wishes to see things beyond the immediate future when it comes to the dollar sign.

Let's face it, Brett. Operating a motor vehicle is one of the dangerous things the general public will ever do. But we as consumers should expect that we do not have to deal with manufacturing defects that make it unnecessarily more dangerous. But cost cutting will always be paramount it seems. Manufacturers rarely ever offer an "improvement" unless it saves them money or if they are mandated to do so. These drive by wire systems save steps on the assembly line by not having to attach and route a throttle cable. In the 80s and 90s, Lee Iacocca touted Chrysler as being the pioneer of the airbag even though he vigorously opposed them because it would raise costs. Rear wheel drive was phased out because it eliminated steps on the assembly line.

Anyway Brett, I have enjoyed this discussion immensely. Your posts have given an insight into the amount of research an attorney in your field needs to do. And they have also stated what I have felt. The issue here is a software problem.

Anonymous User
Posted by Michael William
Sunday, February 28, 2010 2:29 AM EST

Rhonda Smith.... if you really pray another people will never be suffered from anything like you, why did you you sell your car to another people without fixing? And actually the next user haven't experienced anything wrong. What do you think? you smell a rat.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ted
Sunday, February 28, 2010 7:18 AM EST

Shame on you, Rhonda
Unsecured heavy rubber all-weather mat rested atop the factory installed carpet mat,

End of story

LINK
excerpt from Reuters

NHTSA examined the vehicle and suspected the problem was related to floor mats that can jam the accelerator. The report said that the unsecured heavy rubber all-weather mat rested atop the factory installed carpet mat, a point NHTSA said later could cause it to move forward unintentionally.
A second, much larger floor mat-related recall in October 2009 was triggered by renewed government scrutiny after a Lexus crash in California last August that killed four people.
the car was later sold to an owner who drove it for 27,000 miles and reported no acceleration problems, the Transportation Department said.
Regulators believe floor mats are linked to at least five U.S. crash deaths, with 29 other consumer reports under review alleging fatalities associated with unintended acceleration.

Anonymous User
Posted by Yooper
Monday, March 01, 2010 7:44 PM EST

InjuryBoard? What a cute name. Sounds so much better than AmbulanceChasers.

Anonymous User
Posted by thomas
Monday, March 01, 2010 8:34 PM EST

SHAME ON YOU RHONDA SMITH!!!! SHAME ON YOU for selling your car...AND WITHOUT telling the future buyers...it was a demon car!!! Shame on YOU RHONDA SMITH...SHAME ON YOU RHONDA SMITH...why didn't you tell the lucky buyers of your DEMON CAR..that it had sudden accerlation?!!!!!

And to the lucky buyers...it went another 27,000 plus without ONE blimp!!!! SCREW YOU RHONDA SMITH for not telling the truth.... SHAME ON YOU RHONDA SMITH

Anonymous User
Posted by Bill Graves
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 5:00 PM EST

Rhonda Smith is a liar and I hope she does not get a single cent for her bogus story. This injury board is a joke too; ambulance chasers is right on. What a bunch of leaches.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ferd
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 5:44 PM EST

She's not the only one.

LINK

Anonymous User
Posted by Bill Graves
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 7:35 PM EST

true but she chose to be the poster girl...

Toyota makes a quality product and always have. When they have problems they stand behind the product and make it right...look at all those rusted out Tacomas they bought back for 150% of the KBB retail....what other manufacturer would do that?? Nissan, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai, VW, Honda...the answer is none of them.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ferd
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 11:31 PM EST

At least she has a choice, because she's alive.

I don't blame her. She was labeled a liar by the authorities, and now that she's speaking up, she's being labeled a liar by the public.

Why don't we treat this for what it is: A reason to look further.

Anonymous User
Posted by Bill Graves
Thursday, March 04, 2010 10:36 AM EST

a reason to look further into what? why she lied? I think that is simple; b/c she is getting paid for her testimony...or at least hopes to be paid. What she has told us is impossible...the following link provides a truly independent study by experts with the know how to evaluate the problem...

LINK

Anonymous User
Posted by Ferd
Thursday, March 04, 2010 8:37 PM EST

Don't be dense, Bill Graves. As a concerned public, we need to find out the real reason that innocent people are getting killed. If it turns out that they're not stepping on the brakes, then so be it. If it turns out to be a different problem that we can fix, let's fix it.

Is Toyota hiding its black box data?
LINK

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, March 05, 2010 5:26 PM EST

Be sure to see part two as Rhonda answers some of the critics comments in this blog. Thank you.

Anonymous User
Posted by Donald
Friday, March 05, 2010 6:00 PM EST

Ferd, while Toyota's EDR system may be proprietary at this time, that is not to say a bunch of third party software engineers/security consultants could not reverse engineer and crack the Toyota code. If the US government really wanted to do so, I am sure the supercomputers at places like Lawrence Livermore could handle the task.

In the meantime, despite Toyota's obfuscation, that is still why I recommended to Brett Emison that the owner recover the EDR as soon as possible after such a SUA incident.

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, March 08, 2010 11:41 AM EST

Comments that advocate death to another living being will be removed. -your friendly news editor

Anonymous User
Posted by Dave
Friday, March 12, 2010 5:57 PM EST

Hopefully the stats presented by the attorney on this thread are adequate grounds for a lawsuit against Toyota. I doubt it's enough.

Evidence is Rhonda had multiple floormat layers, was paid testify before congress by Sean Keane and a group of 5 law firms, traded her car in on a Toyota Tundra and NHTSA determined the defective Lexus has run 27,000 miles for new owner without issue.

Likewise, new findings on the Stikes Toyota issue in California are being brought to light. $700k in debt, 5 months behind on car pmts and Toyota expert testimony that nothing can be found wrong with vehicle.

If you can take on cases like these and win -- well, go get 'em.

Anonymous User
Posted by Banney Ley
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 6:23 PM EST

Yes, because when we are in a life-death situation we should all call our husbands, and NOT 911. Also she sold the car. If it almost killed her, why did she sell it? Who's the killer now, huh Mrs. Smith, who is the killer now?

Comments for this article are closed.

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