A Santee man who survived a fiery collision with an out-of-control Lexus that killed four people in 2009 filed a lawsuit Thursday against Bob Baker Lexus El Cajon, Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., according to his attorney.
Philip Pretty was turning left from state Route 125 onto Mission Gorge Road on Aug. 28, 2009, when his Ford Explorer was struck by a Lexus that was speeding behind him at more than 100 mph due to a stuck accelerator. All four people in the Lexus were killed after the car flipped and burst into flames.
Pretty was hospitalized with a concussion and injuries to a shoulder and knee. The lawsuit—filed by Gayle M. Blatt, a partner with San Diego-based Casey Gerry—seeks compensatory damages for product liability and damages, and includes a claim for punitive damages, according to a statement by the law firm.
The crash made headlines nationwide. An investigation found that an improper floor mat caused the gas pedal on the Lexus to become stuck and the driver, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, was unable to slow the car down. Toyota recalled more than 4 million vehicles following the investigation’s findings.
Saylor, his wife Cleofe, their 13-year-old daughter, Mahala, and passenger Chris Lastrella were killed. Lastrella was Saylor’s brother-in-law.
Saylor was loaned the 2009 ES 350 Lexus by Bob Baker Lexus El Cajon when he dropped his car off at the dealership to be serviced. News reports said that a man who previously drove the loaner Lexus reported acceleration problems to the dealership when he returned it.
“Toyota had numerous complaints of sudden unintended acceleration and improper speed control—in similarly designed vehicles—spanning years prior to this incident,” Blatt said in a statement. “That car should not have been on the road, and my client, who is still struggling with the emotional aftermath of this horrific crash, wants to make sure this will not happen again.”