Los Angeles Times


Date: Aug. 28, 2009

Victim: Mark Saylor, Cleofe Lastrella, Mahala Saylor, Chris Lastrella

Location: San Diego

Model: 2009 Lexus ES350

Details: Off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor was driving through rush-hour traffic in suburban San Diego when his Lexus took off like a runaway rocket. With him were his wife, Cleofe Lastrella, their 13-year-old daughter, Mahala, and Cleofe's brother, Chris Lastrella.

The family's final moments were captured on a frantic 911 call made as the car weaved through traffic at 120 mph, flames flashing beneath the car.

"We're in trouble. . . . There's no brakes," Lastrella told a police dispatcher over a cellphone.

Moments later, shrieks filled the Lexus as it slammed into another vehicle, then careened into an embankment, killing all four on board.

The accident drew extensive media coverage and prompted Toyota to recall 3.8 million cars to replace floor mats that it said could cause the accelerator to stick.

-- Stuart Pfeifer, Carol J. Williams and Robert FaturechiCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times