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Post image for 911 Call Released from Crash that Prompted Initial Toyota/Lexus Floor Mat Recall

911 Call Released from Crash that Prompted Initial Toyota/Lexus Floor Mat Recall


In a 911 call, a California Highway Patrol officer and three relatives can be heard telling each other to hold on and pray before their car veered off the highway, drove over an embankment, flipped and exploded into flames killing all four inside the car.

Mark Saylor, 45, his wife Cleofe, 45, their daughter Mahala, 13 and brother-in-law Chris Lastrella, 38, died in the crash on Highway 125.

Warning: This audio is graphic and shocking.


A preliminary finding in the investigation indicates the accident may have occurred after the accelerator got stuck on a floor mat, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

Toyota said that it has begun mailing letters to owners of certain Toyota and Lexus models regarding the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to become stuck.

The letter, in compliance with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and sent in the wake of a Santee crash that killed an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and three family members, also confirms that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver's floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.

According to Toyota, the finding is consistent with a recent decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration denying a request for additional investigation of unwanted and unintended acceleration of the 2007 Lexus ES350 and 2002-2003 Lexus ES300.

The incident has prompted a massive recall and investigation into Lexus and Toyotas’ floor mats. The recall affects floor mats in 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES 350 vehicles and many Toyota models. In the meantime, officials urge drivers of these cars to remove their floor mats.

The complete list:









  • 2007-10 Camry
  • 2005-10 Avalon
  • 2004-09 Prius
  • 2005-10 Tacoma
  • 2007-10 Tundra
  • 2007-10 Lexus ES350
  • 2006-10 Lexus ES250
  • 2006-10 Lexus IS350


If you find yourself in this situation, the key is to remain calm and put the car in neutral until the car slows down enough so you can safely pull off the road.


911 Call Released from Crash that Prompted Initial Toyota/Lexus Floor Mat Recall, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Jax February 2, 2010 at 11:10 am

The 9-11 opearator was an IDIOT for wasting time trying to determine the car’s exact location, rather than telling the drive to do this.


Doug February 2, 2010 at 11:28 am

Here’s my story.

In 2004 I drove a 1994 Lexus 4 door sedan.

I started vehicle, released parking brake, and put the car in drive. The speed limit when I began to drive the car was 15 miles per hour. I accelerated accordingly and suddenly fournd my self in complete full throttle behind the wheel of this vehicle. It absolutely took off like a rocket and I was in a situation that I realized I had no control over this vehicle. I was in a situation where it was life or death and I had to act. I slammed on the brakes to no avail. This car was not responding to braking. The next option i could think of was to turn the ignition off. Upon turning car of the vehicle thankfully began to slow and eventually came to a full sop.

In the recent tragedy it is eerily similar to the experience I had. The difference is, , newer lexus models do not offer the driver the option to turn off ignition while in gearThis incident had nothing to do with faulty floor mats and everything to do with a serious mechanical malfunction involving the accelerator of tghis vehicle.

It is my duty as a human being to share my story. Recently a family told me that on the newer lexus’, should a situation similar to mine occur, the option of turn off the ignition is not there. i.e. Newer Lexus vehicles are not equipped to turn off car while in gear.




Sam February 2, 2010 at 11:28 am

I was just thinking: if I’m going 100 MPH, and somebody says: “put it in neutral, just for the hell of it”, I would not do it, because I would be worried about accidentally moving the lever a little too far, or not enough: my mind is already occupied with just staying in my lane, and I would have no capacity nor inclination to divert my attention from the road and look at the gear indicator. I would have an attitude like: “absolutely not”, even in my own car, let alone somebody else’s car. I might try it at 30 MPH in my own car, if there’s no traffic. But in somebody else’s car, no way, not even at 30 MPH with no traffic, let alone 120 MPH with lots of traffic to dodge. So I can see how a stunt like that, attempting to shift into neutral at that speed, was not the officer’s first choice of solution. It might have taken a few seconds for the officer to realize how bad things were going to get and how little time was left. He might have realized it, with 2 seconds to go, and in those last seconds, he might have been fully occupied with steering around other cars, with no opportunuity left, and no time left, to look down at the gear indicator and move the selector lever in the precise required manner.


Percival Sweetwater February 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

If you are that scared behind the wheel while driving, you don’t belong behind the wheel of an automobile. Please buy a bicycle asap!


Graham Maxwell February 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm

if you where to “overshift” and catch reverse which i am pretty sure you cant do while the vehicle is in motion all you would do is grenade the tranny and that in and of itself would bring your vehicle to a gradual stop!! no transmission means no power to the ground which means no acceleration. now go back to a bike or a buggy if you know nothing about how to safely operate a car in an emergency you tard


Carrie February 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

This happened to me on the way home from Tahoe on Hwy 395 with some girlfriemds. I had all weather floor mats and I wasn’t aware that it was stuck up against the acelerator. The truck was going 90 mph up a hill as we had just passed, I put it into netural, nothing happend, the brakes didn’t work either! I was just about to turn the key off when I realized that the floor mat was jammed up against the acelerator. Very scary as we where heading into two lanes with on coming traffic amd cars in front of us. This was such a horrible ending for this family, my prayers go out to them and their families.


todd February 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

This is crazy, another case of blaming someone else for a problem we can easily fix ourselves. I think anyone who has driven any distance at all has had something like a mat getting stuck on the gas pedal…you reach down and move it. If the pedal is stuck somewhere else you shift to nuetral or shut off the car, you will not lose steering, but you will lose power steering which meens you may have to put effort into turning the wheel, but it will turn. Sad that people had to die in such a tragic way, but lets face the facts that this was easily overcome by a little effort or thinking!


Percival Sweetwater February 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

Turn it off, but not all the way off or the steering wheel will lock.


Remy March 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Its powerful egnine, delivering a large amount of output just awesome. ASG with paddle shifter can shift the gear in just .2 seconds.. Isn’t it awesome guys?


GG February 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

I think this is made worse by the fact that most people haven’t the vaguest clue how their car actually works. Skipping the possibility that you might pull whatever is hanging the gas pedal away with your foot, if you had to learn to drive a manual transmission you’d have an innate understanding of the concept that you can disconnect the engine from the wheels. There have been many “runaway” tragedies like this that could have been averted by smacking the shifter out of drive.

I think many automatic-transmission drivers forget the shifter is even there until it’s time to put it in park, and sometimes even then.

When I was in college, a woman came into the store where I worked upset that her car wouldn’t work. She couldn’t get the key out and it wouldn’t start again and she needed to call someone (this was pre-cell-phone days.) I guessed from her description what was wrong… the selector was in “D” so she couldn’t turn the key to lock and take out the key, and the starter would only engage in Park or Neutral.


Matt H. February 2, 2010 at 11:34 am

The brakes probably were completely faded (overheated and ineffective due to “outgassing” on the pads, or boiling the brake fluid) because this poor guys first impulse was most likely to mash on the brakes.

Alternately, he may have tried to use the parking/emergency brake. On Toyota/Lexus cars, the parking brakes are small drums on the inside of the rear hubs, separate from the disc brakes controlled by the brake pedal. These small drums have very little stopping power, and will probably simply fail if applied at speed. They really are only useful for keeping the car in place when parked.

Cutting the ignition would have been smart; and I don’t buy that he didn’t know how to cut the ignition. Was this the first time he drove the car? Has he just left it idling since he bought it? Doesn’t make sense. He was probably too panicked to think of it.

Putting the car into neutral would have also worked fine. Apparently he was too panicked to think of that either.

It is a shame that this happened to anyone- but of all people, this is especially sad. Police officers are trained to think clearly under stressful and life or death situations. And being a highway patrol officer, he should have been more familiar with basic car operation.

I’ve had several cars, all with floor mats on the driver’s side. I frequently check that they are in place correctly, because the mats can jam the accelerator and brake pedal if they aren’t- no matter who makes the car. I’m pretty sure if you read your car’s owners manual you’ll find a warning about it.

Damning Toyota for this is like decrying McDonalds for the temperature of their coffee.


Eric Seaberg February 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm

The Lexus they were driving was a ‘rental’ so, to a certain extent, he was unfamiliar with some of its nuances. There have also been accidents blamed on the ‘floor-mats’, one recently, where the car landed upside down in a river, killing everyone inside. When the car was pulled out of the water the bad floor-mats were found in the trunk. They are NOT the problem!


Ben McBeen February 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Actually, this was one of those fancy new cars that didn’t have an ignition. It was a push button start system. The system does not normally allow you to shut off the engine while in gear. In this case, the button would have needed to be held down for 10 seconds. It appears that amount of time was not available.

As far as neutral goes… well guess what… This also one of those fancy new cars that used electronic shifting. It did not have the normal shifter pattern we are all used to. The lever has to be pushed into a specific position to reach neutral. And guess what. It also is not normally allowed to be done while in motion.

Also, keep in mind that driving/driving in neutral is illegal. If you did happen to get in an accident while in neutral, you might find yourself in an even worse situation.


Greg February 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Worse than dead?


Babiker March 26, 2012 at 6:15 am

Go with the Rav4. Better price, just as reliable as the V200, and not nlaery as ugly. The V200 is a very good automobile but boring. The Toyota will still give you plenty of flexibility with storage and room. Additionally, the Rav4 is fun to drive, very safe and reliable, and should suit all the needs for your new family.Best of luck.


Julie February 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

He tried to put on the brakes. It didn’t work. (0:37).


jordan February 2, 2010 at 11:43 am

Toyota said their is a software fix coming that will let the drive-by-wire system to let the driver manually shift into neutral. Remember, this is a problem with the car and logical means to manually fix the situation when the car was going 100-MPH were prevented by a software bug that Toyota/Lexus will be fixing soon.

Other cars have a break-over-ride system — Why not Toyota?



Ben McBeen February 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I read yesterday that Toyota is FINALLY going to start flashing cars with the throttle override code. I cannot believe they fought it all these years.


LISTEN UP February 2, 2010 at 11:40 am

The brakes on the car were applied until they literally disintegrated from the heat.

Additionally, the drive by wire system on the car prevented the driver from manually shifting to neutral due to the load being applied.,-I-Told-You-So.html


Rubi March 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

you know street saint, one of the resnoas these brand got their way into our minds is that they put their ads everywhere, streets, TV, radio and almost everywhere that we might go to faroukb4s latest undefined post ..


Shannon March 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Why do you want to live in a third world? I don’t .Glen is only trying to teach us and help us to see where America is hedaed? I watch him daily and never hear anything he can’t verify.


DIXON February 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm

The death of a four people and the largest recall in Toyota’s history was caused by a compound of errors. The initial buzz/word on the virtual street suggested that it was simply an improperly placed floor mat that doomed CHP officer Mark Saylor and three family members when the Lexus ES350 they were traveling in got jammed open at over 100 MPH before crashing and bursting into flames. But it turns out it was more than just a floor mat.

First of all, the floor mat in question didn’t belong to the ES350 (actually, the ES350 didn’t belong to Officer Saylor — it was a dealer loaner while his car was being worked on). The mats in the ES350 that crashed were from a RX400h. Not only that, they were those thick, all-weather hard rubber mats. Regardless, because the dealer had placed the wrong mats into the wrong car, there was no way to properly mount them. Also, it seems that the pedal design of the ES350 also played a role. The NHTSA discovered that, “Beyond the main pivot, the lever is not hinged and has no means for relieving forces caused by interferences.” We think that means it can easily get stuck.

But that’s not all. The NHTSA had also learned from a previous ES350 investigation that, “the Lexus ES braking system loses power-assist when the throttle is fully opened, increasing braking distance fivefold.” That’s not good. And the brakes had signs of heavy wear and damage, “Rotors were discolored and heated, had very rough surfaces, had substantial deposits of brake pad material, and showed signs of bright orange oxidation on the cooling fins consistent with endured braking.”

Additionally, because the Lexus has push button start, the operator must push the button for three seconds before the engine will shut off. A piece of info obviously and sadly not known by Officer Saylor. The San Diego County Sheriff’s office is leading the investigation and has not yet released their final report. We’ll keep you posted on that, but as they say in plane crashes, looks like the holes in the swiss cheese all lined up.


bob is horrified February 4, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Boy i am sure glad i don’t
own a TOYOTA ! I just got a NISSAN 5 sp gear, gets 40 m/p gallon
had it for over 10 yr works ok even if the floor mat is screwed up.
brakes are always in good working order.never will get a Toyota now.
THINKING about GM now ,i have a 65 chev in line 6 cyl. trk.always works
pre-smog same engine lots of miles still starts no smoke! easy to fix
push rods on cam shafts over head rockers (cost me $2 bucks and my own
labour to replace a bent push rod) every body wants my truck (no way will i
part with my truck.)
you guys out there hey i don’t have a stupid computer to break down I don’t have
to pay for smoging and my in insurance and dmv so freaking low .

thank you GM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and thank you NISSAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Akhil March 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

You should call your local GMC dlaeers service dept.Ask them for the phone number of a local shop that does this type of work.These places have kits that have everything they need to install power windows in your sonoma.At my Chevy dlaeership we have two shops that we send our customers to for this type of work due to the fact they have quality parts and expert people doing the work and they offer a good warranty.Best of luck with your sonoma.


Willism J Giunta February 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Too many people with NO clue as to how the Toyota operates and what could have caused the problem. These people should not be mouthing off here. It seems to be the case on all of these posting sites, that people with a little knowledge have the answers to ALL the problems in the world.


Selling March 29, 2012 at 12:16 am

I own a 2011 Toyota Prius and love it. There is more room in it then you would think. If you are 6 4 you can sit in front or back. My gas mileage has been an agreave of 47 mpg. When friend get in they are surprised at how nice it is. If you get one with the JBL sound system it is killer for a factory installed option.


Jeep Owner February 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

The floor mat of my Jeep got stuck over the accelerator several years ago. It can happen in any car.


John. J February 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Any staff member of the NHTSA, 2003 to present, that participated in numerous investigations which led to no public awareness should be put to trial for the death of all those who died from this car makers on going problem. In addition, all those involved should be sued (being the capitalist country that we are) by the families of all who have died in accidents resulting from the malfunction of these vehicles. All need to be held accountable for there actions while under office. I’m sure that a deeper probe would reveal NHTSA members received hush hush money, in one form or another, from Toyota. Talk about betrayal of America and its people.


Mephistopheles February 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Why on earth don’t people have the common sense to just turn the ignition OFF and put the parking brake ON in a situation like this? Doh?


Jordan February 10, 2010 at 8:37 am

It was a push button start. You can turn it off while you are moving. Going that fast you cannot apply the breaks as it would just burn the break pads. Putting it in neutral was also prevented by the software program.


Nancy Williams March 7, 2010 at 7:41 am

The same thing happened to me. In December 2007, I was driving a 1994 Lexus that accelerated to the point were the car flipped somewhere between 5 to 7 times. I easied down on the brakes because it was raining. I could not just slam on the brakes. The car just kept on flipping and flipping. It flipped so many times that I just started praying because I didn’t know when it would end. I just said what I thought would be my last prayer and that GOD would take care of my husband and son. I told the police officer that the car seemed to have a mind of it own and accelerated on its own.


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