Lawsuit Over a Crash Adds to Toyota’s Difficulties By BILL VLASIC Published: February 4, 2010
FLINT, Mich. — The trip was one that Guadalupe Alberto had made many times before, just a few miles through her neighborhood to the small grocery store her family had owned for years.
It was a Saturday afternoon, April 19, 2008, and Mrs. Alberto, a 77-year-old former autoworker, was driving her 2005 Toyota Camry. Within blocks of her home, witnesses told police, the car accelerated out of control, jumped a curb and flew through the air before crashing into a tree.
Mrs. Alberto was killed instantly, leaving her family stunned at how such an accident could happen to someone who was in good health, never had a speeding ticket and so hated driving fast that she avoided taking the freeway.
Her car was not among the millions of Camry models and other Toyotas recently recalled for sticky accelerator pedals. And it also did not have floor mats at the time, which were part of a separate recall.
Instead, the crash is now being looked at as a possible example of problems with the electronic system that controls the throttle and engine speed in Toyotas.