Marine’s Family Sues Toyota After Fatal High Speed Crash

Marine's Family Sues Toyota After Fatal High Speed CrashOne year after a U.S. marine was killed in a car crash, his family is now suing Toyota, alleging the company was responsible for his death.

According to a copy of the wrongful death lawsuit obtained by NBC affiliate WBIR, the complaint was filed in federal court in California’s Central District on Tuesday, December 21. Corporal Michael Buress was killed on December 23, 2010, when the 2008 Toyota Yaris he was driving allegedly sped out of control.

The complaint alleges the vehicle suddenly accelerated, which caused the crash on Interstate 640 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The lawsuit claims one witness saw Burress at the time of the incident, who stated the driver was having trouble controlling the Toyota vehicle, and that it was traveling at a high rate of speed. The witness stated that Burress then veered into the emergency lane and accelerated off the road.

The Toyota was allegedly not equipped with a brake override system, known as “smart-throttle technology,” although the company did choose to install a Bosch brake override system on models sold in Europe.

Consumer Reports states that “smart-throttle technology, also known as brake override, can mitigate the risks associated with unintended acceleration by allowing the driver to quickly, intuitively bring a car to a safe stop by depressing the brake pedal and therefore negating throttle input.” This suggests the accident could have potentially been avoided if the car had been designed with such a system.

According to WBIR, this is one of hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed across the country regarding the unintentional acceleration of Toyota model cars. The complaint was brought forth against Toyota by Burress’ mother, Margaret Sowers, and follows Toyota recalls of thousands of cars in the last few years.