Reporting Derek Shore
Even in a different language, you could hear the fear in the voice of Mussarat Chaudhary as the 59-year-old drowned when her 2009 Toyota Camry sank into the Sacramento River.
Her family says they know she died at the hands of her car’s manufacturer and has filed a lawsuit against Toyota in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“It’s a horrific ordeal,” said Chris Wood, the family’s attorney. “Nobody can imagine having to go through something like that.”
The suit alleges Chaudhary’s Camry is one of many Toyotas that have had issues with uncontrolled acceleration—something Wood claims Mussarat reported to her daughter, with whom she happened to be on the phone.
“She told her daughter, ‘I can’t stop the vehicle, I can’t control the vehicle,’ and when she was talking to her daughter, her daughter said, ‘Call 911 right away,’”
But it was too late.
While Toyota has settled a number of similar claims out of court related to similar problems, they have not publicly acknowledged an issue.
“They know about the problem, and a lot has not been done to correct it,” Wood said.
He hopes that because of this lawsuit, his client will be the last to die.
“If you hold them accountable, people know about it, things will change,” Wood said.
Toyota released the following statement:
“We sympathize with anyone in an accident involving one of our vehicles. We can’t comment further at this stage except to say that we are committed to working in close partnership with law enforcement agencies and federal regulators with jurisdiction over accident scenes whenever requested.”