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Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

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Date: April 9, 2007

Victim: Ray Ann Gloyna

Location: Callahan County, Texas

Model: 2001 Toyota Avalon

Details: Dennis Gloyna has agonized over his wife Ray Ann's fatal accident, wondering how the normally cautious and attentive driver could have sped through a stop sign on a busy highway into the path of an 18-wheeler.

Only after dozens of instances of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles gained notoriety late last year did the Abilene businessman find a plausible, if still painful, explanation for the horrific crash that killed his 58-year-old wife, dragging her demolished car along the road for 900 feet.

"Why no skid marks?" the anguished widower wrote in a complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in November. "There is no other explanation in my mind as to how Ray Ann could have missed the stop sign. The car was out of control and it killed her."

Ray Ann Gloyna had been driving alone, en route to Mexia, Texas, to visit her ailing mother when the accident occurred at 8:30 p.m. A special unit of the Abilene Fire Department had to be dispatched to extract her body from the wreckage, her husband told the government in a plea to review her case.

The 2001 Avalon is not included in the recent Toyota recalls.

-- Stuart Pfeifer, Carol J. Williams and Robert Faturechi