HARRISON, N.Y. (AP) - A housekeeper who reported that her boss' Toyota Prius
accelerated on its own and wouldn't brake as she hurtled toward a stone wall
apparently had her foot on the gas pedal the entire time, according to a
police investigation that concluded the driver, not the car, caused the
The March 9 crash in a suburban New York driveway came the day after a
driver in San Diego reported that the gas pedal got stuck on his 2008 Prius,
resulting in a wild 94 mph ride on a Southern California freeway.
The two accidents raised new questions about Toyota's accelerators. The
company had already recalled more than 8 million cars over gas pedals that
could become stuck or be held down by floor mats.
But in the California case, Toyota said its tests showed the car's gas
pedal, backup safety system and electronics were working fine.
And on Monday, Harrison police Capt. Anthony Marraccini said, "The vehicle
accelerator in this case was depressed 100 percent at the time of collision,
and there was absolutely no indication of any brake application."
The data came from the car's on-board event data recorder and computer and
was downloaded during an inspection Wednesday joined by Toyota and the
National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, which also concluded the car
was not at fault. The event data recorder, or "black box," is designed to
record the state of the car at the moment of an impact.
Marraccini said the 56-year-old driver "believes she depressed the brake,
but that just simply isn't the case here." She did not try to deceive
police, he said, and she faces no charges.
Toyota spokesman Wade Hoyt said owner of Priuses can feel secure that "if
you step on the brake they'll stop, even if the accelerator is glued to the
The company also issued a statement saying it would continue to investigate
"reported incidents of unintended acceleration."
The New York driver, identified as Gloria Rosel, did not come to the door of
the house where she works Monday. Calls there were not returned.
Marraccini said the car's computers showed that the Prius' top speed down
the driveway was 35 mph; it slowed once when it hit a curb and it was going
27 mph when it hit the wall across the street from the driveway entrance.
The car's front end was wrecked but the driver was not seriously hurt.
The captain displayed a page from the computer readout that showed an
accelerator sensor measuring 99.9 percent while a brake sensor showed zero.
One critical finding, he said, was that although the throttle was fully open
at the time of impact, the gas pedal returned to its normal position after
the crash, indicating it did not stick.
Some consumer groups and safety experts have said the problems could be
caused by faulty electronic throttles. Toyota has said it has found no
evidence of problems with its electronics.
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.