Yesterday a US jury decided that Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, needs to pay almost $11 million after concluding that a 2006 fatal car crash in Minnesota occurred due to an accelerator defect of a 1996 Camry.
Actually, the three-week trial by jurors in Minnesota federal court saw them deliberate for four days before holding Koua Fong Lee, the Camry’s driver, also 40% accountable for the traffic accident, according to lawyers. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said that the US jury concluded that Toyota was also 60 percent liable for the crash. The automaker declined total responsibility for the fatal incident, claiming the driver to be 100 % guilty because of negligence. The plaintiffs on the other hand argued that a flaw in the Camry’s accelerator was the cause of the crash, when it became stuck and the brakes failed to work. Additionally, the car involved in the fatal crash was not among the models involved in Toyota’s recall of more than 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2010 over unintended acceleration issues.
Back in 2006, Lee crashed his Camry in St. Paul, Minnesota while driving the 1996 model after it inexplicably started to accelerate as it was approaching other cars stopped at an intersection. The ensuing crash with an Oldsmobile Ciera led to the death of the river, Javis Trice-Adams Sr., his 9-year old son, while a 6-year old girl who was also in the car was paralyzed and later died. Two other passengers were seriously injured. Lee was charged with vehicular homicide and served almost three years in prison – in 2010 he was released after reports of the Toyota acceleration cases emerged.