Family of Elgin man killed in crash sues Toyota

February 7, 2011 10:00:00 PM PST
The U.S. Transportation Secretary declared Toyota vehicles safe to drive on Tuesday. Ray LaHood said an investigation into complaints of sudden acceleration found no electronic flaws. But the family of a suburban man killed last year doesn't buy it.

"The jury is in the verdict is back there is no electronic base cause for the unintended high speed acceleration in Toyotas," said LaHood.

LaHood said his conclusion was based on a 10-month investigation of nine separate Toyotas conducted by NASA scientists. They concluded there are just two problems that could cause throttle pedals to stick -- floor mats that trap the gas pedal and the sticky pedals that are too slow to release.

Toyota admitted to the sticky pedal problem in the U.S. only after an ABC News investigation.

Toyota was fined a record $16.4 million for failing to disclose the sticky pedal problem.

For the family of 87-year-old Leo Przbylowski, the government's findings are not good enough. Przbylowski died last May when he crashed into a wall of an Elgin strip mall while driving a 2006 Toyota Corolla.

"There's is something wrong with this car and we want to know what it is . All possibilities have been eliminated and it has to be something with the electric system," said Martin Dolan, attorney representing the Przbylowski family.

The family has filed a lawsuit claiming Toyota sold a defective car that resulted in the death of the Elgin grandfather.

Dolan says this is perhaps the only instance where sudden acceleration was caught on camera. A surveillance camera installed on top of the mall parking lot shows Przbylowski backing out of a parking space and then quickly accelerating forward and smashing into a wall.

"He said the car took off like a jack rabbit, that he had no control of the vehicle and it took off. Those were his words he was telling his family as he was trying to describe what happened," said Dolan.

Pryzbylowski was a truck driver in the Navy and made a career out of that profession for decades. The family is seeking damages for loss of life, but Dolan would not put dollar amount saying it's up to the jury.

Toyota still faces a class action lawsuit and could face billions in damages.