Accelerator Pedal Sticks As Toyota Slams Into Funeral Home

February 7, 2010
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imageBecky Anne Lane, 46, was taken to Baptist Hospital of Cocke County on Wednesday for possible injuries following an accident at Manes Funeral Home in her 2008 Toyota Camry LE that she blamed on a stuck accelerator.

Lane told The Newport Plain Talk that her accelerator got “hung” as she was headed east on East Main Street at Court Avenue, at about 2:30 p.m., on her way to the Food City East store.

Lane said she had stopped for the stop sign on East Main Street at Court Avenue when she stepped on the gas pedal and it got stuck to the floor.

She said the steering wheel locked up, she lost control of the vehicle, clipped a Manes Funeral Home sign in the business’s parking lot, and ran into the building, doing considerable damage to its interior lobby.

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Her Toyota was damaged on the left side and front of the vehicle when it plowed into the funeral home, according to a report by the Newport Police Department.

The impact of her vehicle into the funeral home overturned a table inside, buckled a wall, and threw stacks of literature onto the carpet.

A witness, Chris Austin, of East Main Street, told Patrolman Donald Coakley that he saw Lane in her Toyota coming by him at a high rate of speed before swerving into the Manes Funeral Home’s parking lot.

Austin told police that when he approached the vehicle with Lane in it immediately after the accident, the motor was racing at a high speed even though the vehicle was in park, Coakley’s report stated.

No one was in the lobby of the funeral home, which the car entered, at the time of the accident, according to a spokesperson with Manes.

HAD CONTACTED DEALERSHIP

Lane told the Newport Plain Talk she had contacted the Toyota dealership in Morristown about three weeks ago asking them to check her accelerator following the news reports of possible problems with accelerators on Toyotas.

“They told me I had to wait on papers — recall papers, I guess,” before her vehicle could be worked on there, she said.

Lane also said she was directed by the Morristown dealership to contact the Toyota dealership where she bought her Camry, which is in Knoxville.

Lane said that, as a practical matter, it was simply not possible for her to have stopped using her Toyota until it could be taken to Knoxville and fixed before using it again because she needed the vehicle to get around the Newport area.

In Washington, according to the Associated Press, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood startled the public this week with a comment, which he later retracted, that Americans should park their recalled Toyotas unless driving to dealers for accelerator repairs.

The recall spanned the U.S., Europe and China over sticking gas pedals in eight top-selling models including the Camry, the AP reported. The recall involved 2.3 million cars in the U.S. alone.

The latest setback for Toyota involves the brakes for its gas-electric hybrid vehicle, the Prius. The automaker has received 77 complaints in Japan about braking problems for the Prius.

In this country, Toyota dealerships have begun receiving parts to repair gas pedals in millions of vehicles and said they would be extending their hours long into the nights to complete the needed replacements.

According to The Associated Press, Toyota has shut down several new vehicle assembly lines and is rushing parts to dealers to fix problems with the accelerators, trying to preserve a reputation of building safe, durable vehicles, according to the AP.

Source: Greenville Sun

Photo: NELSON MORAIS

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