Los Angeles Times

 

Date: Aug. 28, 2009

Victim: Noriko Uno

Location: Upland

Model: 2006 Toyota Camry

Details: Noriko Uno, 66, had left her Upland home to do some grocery shopping and deposit the latest receipts from the family's sushi restaurant, when her Camry suddenly accelerated to nearly 100 mph on Euclid Avenue, her family said in a lawsuit, citing police reports.

Witnesses reportedly told police that they saw the woman tearing along the eastbound lane of the suburban roadway, gripping the steering wheel, her face frozen in terror as she tried to steer out of traffic and away from pedestrians.

The car struck a telephone pole, became airborne and came to rest after crashing into a large tree, the suit says. When emergency workers extracted Uno's body from the wreckage, they noted the hand brake had been pulled up in an attempt to halt the speeding car.

Reeling from their shock and loss, Uno's husband, Yasuharu, and adult son, Jeffrey, were mystified as to what could have caused the normally cautious bookkeeper to be traveling at such dangerous speeds.

Then came extensive media coverage of the deaths of an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and his family in the crash of a runaway Lexus on the same day as Uno's accident, followed by a spate of recalls by Toyota. The Uno family now believes that sudden unintended acceleration caused her Noriko's fatal accident, even though the 2006 Camry is not included in any of the recent Toyota recalls.

They filed a suit alleging wrongful death on Feb. 4, a painful decision according to their lawyer.

"They're a Japanese family. They've owned nothing but Toyotas. They would have liked to see the jewel of the auto manufacturing society not tainted in any way," the family's attorney, Garo Mardirossian said.

The family still owns two Toyotas.

-- Stuart Pfeifer, Carol J. Williams and Robert Faturechi Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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