On August 28, 2009, off-duty California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife Cleofe, 45, brother-in-law Chris Lastrella, 38, and daughter Mahala, 13, were all killed after the accelerator pedal in the 2009 Lexus they were riding in allegedly became stuck.

According to reports, they died in a fiery crash which occurred along state Route 125 at the Mission Gorge Road in Santee. The rented Lexus was moving over 100 mph when it hit a Ford Explorer and crashed through a fence. Afterwards, the vehicle struck an embankment, causing it to fly towards the bed of San Diego River and burst into flames.

CHP released the recorded 911 call made by the family while Lastrella was trying to stop the vehicle. In the recording, Lastrella told the dispatcher that they were riding in a Lexus, the accelerator is stuck, and they were moving north of 125.

The conversation lasted for 50 seconds. It ended with a woman (probably Cleofe) screaming and another one saying "pray" and "hold on."

This fatal ccident has been widely talked about not only in the United States, but also in other countries. It triggered a nationwide Toyota recall, which affected millions of vehicles.

Car Recall

Car recalls have been continuously reported in the news today, especially after the issue concerning Toyota materialized. Car owners are required to notify the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) if their vehicle failed to function properly so that the problem can be resolved immediately.

Car defects are usually spotted by the manufacturer or the mentioned agency. A defect is considered as a problem if:

  • It poses a significant risk to drivers and may trigger the occurrence of accidents
  • It may be seen in a certain group of vehicles which were produced by the same manufacturer

Remember, defects that do not cause a significant hazard to people may not be subjected to recalls, but may be used as a basis when filing a product liability lawsuit or claim against the car manufacturer.

Meanwhile, defects that are possessed by other products, other than vehicles, are handled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It is the agency that was task to protect people from significant and unreasonable risks of harm that are associated with products like cribs, toys, and other products that are used in schools, homes, and other establishments.

If you have questions about car recalls, it is advisable that you consult a Los Angeles personal injury attorney and read the next article (Conducting Car Recalls and Providing Safer Roads to Drivers - Part 2). This article will give you additional information regarding the issues and procedures involved in recalls.