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.
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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,