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DATE News (chronologically)
09/18/10
automotive
Toyota settles suit over high-profile California crash
Toyota Motor Corp. has settled what is widely regarded as the most serious lawsuit of the hundreds of claims the automaker faces.

The company has agreed to settle the suit brought by relatives of four family members killed in a high-speed crash near San Diego that galvanized attention around safety flaws of the company's vehicles and led to the recalls of millions of cars, the Los Angeles Times said in a story posted on its website Friday night.

The August 2009 crash killed California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor, 45, along with his wife, Cleofe, 45, their daughter Mahala, 13, and Cleofe's brother Chris Lastrella, 39.

Their car — a Toyota-made sedan borrowed from a local Lexus dealership — reached speeds of more than 120 mph on a southern California freeway, hit a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames.

Investigators found that a wrong-sized floor mat that trapped the accelerator was to blame. Shortly after the crash, Toyota recalled millions of cars to replace floor mats that it said could cause the accelerator to jam. The carmaker later recalled millions more vehicles to replace gas pedals that it said could stick. Detroit Free Press

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