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Disturbing 911 call which led to Toyota recalling nearly 10 million vehicles
Featured Image Credit: ABC

Disturbing 911 call which led to Toyota recalling nearly 10 million vehicles

Millions of vehicles were recalled over a two-year period

Over a two-year period, Toyota recalled almost 10 million of its vehicles.

Toyota, who owns Lexus, faced issues with its Lexus ES350 models dating back to 2009.

Some people who owned the vehicles were experiencing issues with the car's accelerator pedal, with a few losing their lives as a result.

One family to have tragically died as a result of the malfunction was Mark Saylor, his wife, teenage daughter and his brother-in-law.

In August 2009, the four of them were in Saylor's Lexus when the car began to speed out of control.

As the vehicle to hit speeds of over 100mph, the driver's brother in law, Chris Lastrella, called 911.

In the harrowing phone call, he's heard describing the situation.

"Our accelerator is stuck!" Lastrella explained to the dispatcher. "We're going 120, Mission George."

Saylor was said to be trying to break, but the car wasn't slowing down.

"We're in trouble. There's no break," Lastrella went on. "We're approaching an intersection. Hold on..."

The family were in a Lexus ES350.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

From the call, it sounds as if Saylor tells his fellow passengers to pray and Lastrella echoes similar sentiments. Screaming is then heard as the phone call cuts off.

In a bid to avoid hitting other vehicles, Saylor drove the car off into a ravine, ultimately killing himself and his three family members.

A police report into the matter later stated that 'the cause was an incompatible all-weather floor mat from a Lexus SUV model that was installed incorrectly in the ES 350 sedan at the dealership'.

Over the course of the next few years, it was reported that an estimated 90 people died in Toyota-made cars as a result of similar acceleration problems.

The car manufacturer went on to recall millions of its vehicles in the space of two years, and forked out an eye-watering $1.2 billion fine to the US Government.

All four family members died instantly.
San Diego Sheriff's Department

They said in a statement that they had 'cooperated with the US Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years' and had 'made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organisation, and we are committed to continued improvements'.

Elsewhere, they paid $10 million to Saylor's family in a high profile settlement in 2011.

In a statement at the time, Toyota said: "We're pleased the court has affirmed the private, amicable settlement that Toyota and the Saylor and Lastrella families reached in good faith through mutual respect and cooperation."

While it was believed that some of the crashes were a result of the badly fitted floor mats, it was later found that some accidents didn't stem from this and it was possibly down to 'sticking accelerator pedal' problems.

While others were attributed as being down to 'driver error', according to a US study.

Topics: News, Cars, Police, US News