The family of Rosland Watson is suing Toyota, the Grandview Auto Wash,
and the driver of the vehicle that struck her for Missouri wrongful death.
Watson, 40, suffered fatal injuries on November 5, 2009 when a 2002 Toyota
Land Cruiser that was leaving a car wash bay hit her. At the time, she
was seated on a bench in the waiting area, while her own car was being cleaned.
Watson sustained head trauma, injuries to her abdomen, neck, throat, broke,
ribs and pubic bone, and developed lacerations, abrasions, and contusions
on her arms, neck, lungs, legs, liver, intestines, spleen, stomach, and
bladder. She later died at the hospital.
According to the driver of the Toyota, John Page, his accelerator got
stuck. A police probe, however, found that Page had stepped on the accelerator
and not the brakes.
The plaintiffs claim that Toyota should be held liable for Missouri auto
products liability because it has knowingly made cars with defective braking
and acceleration systems that have caused “eerily similar”
accidents to the one that killed Watson. They believe that she would still
be alive today if only Toyota had sought to remedy the sudden unintended
acceleration problem that has affected so many of its vehicles, causing
serious injuries and deaths.
In their wrongful death lawsuit, the family accused Toyota of fraudulently
covering up information related to the acceleration defect. They says
that after the car accident that killed Watson, the automaker sent two
corporate representatives to “inspect” the Land Cruiser and,
rather than attempting to discover the truth, “staged an inspection”
to “clear its name.” The plaintiffs say that the Toyota SUV
was defectively designed and manufactured because it contained a faulty
throttle control system, poorly designed floor mats, an “unreasonably
dangerous gas pedal,” and an electronic interference issues that
caused unintended acceleration. The vehicle also lacked a brake override system.
Read the Lawsuit
Toyota, Cleaver-owned car wash sued in woman’s death, NBC Action News, January 20, 2011
Related Web Resources: Toyota Safety Issues, Product Liability Law Blog
Additional Information on Toyota Recalls and Investigations, NHTSA