Stopped With Help From CHP
The Street reports that a 2008 Prius sped out of control at 94 mph in San Diego on Monday.
61-year-old James Sikes tells AP that “I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny…it jumped and it just stuck there.” “As it was going, I was trying the brakes…it wasn’t stopping, it wasn’t doing anything and it just kept speeding up.”
According to reports, Sikes was driving on Interstate 8 and called 911. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer gave him instruction to help bring the car down to 50 mph and eventually to a stop, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Times says that the officer used a loudspeaker to tell the driver to apply both his emergency brake along with the brake pedal at the same time. At 50 mph, Sikes could turn off the engine and coast to a stop. The officer drove his car ahead of Sikes to block it from moving forward.
Toyota, which has recalled millions of vehicles over unintended acceleration, has dispatched a field representative to study the car.
The 2008 Prius was part of a November recall of 4 million cars. No word on whether he took his car into the dealer as recommended by the recall notice.
Toyota has recalled some 8.5 million vehicles, 6 million in the U.S. over braking issues in the Prius and acceleration problems in other models.
At least 34 deaths are blamed on the problematic automobiles, including the San Diego deaths last August of CHP officer Mark Saylor and three family members when their Lexus accelerator got stuck and slammed their vehicle into a SUV at 100 mph then down an embankment.
Billions in Losses
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Toyota could be facing a $5 billion loss from campaigns to lure customers back including zero percent interest for five years and free maintenance, lawsuits and its extensive new marketing advertisements.
Sales for Toyotas are down 12.7% in February, an improvement over the previous months 14%.
Litigation and Class-Actions
Class-action status is being sought in at least a dozen lawsuits. The latest is brought on behalf of the Pena family of Texas who owned a runaway Avalon, made by Toyota.
Robert Hilliard, (IB Partner) of Hilliard Munoz Guerra LLP, believes the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, will include owners of all types of Toyotas from all over Texas.
And Beasley Allen (IB Partner,) an Alabama law firm, announced last week it is filing suit in Florida on behalf of more than 5 million Toyota owners affected by the recall.
Toyota is facing lawsuits from individuals as well including the Houston plaintiff who alleges his wife was killed in when her 2009 Toyota accelerated and crashed. #