"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.
Date: Sept. 28, 2009
Location: Unknown; complaint filed from Belmond, Iowa
Model: 2004 Toyota Solara
Details: In a complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January from Belmond, Iowa, the family of a woman killed in the crash of her 2004 Solara speculates that sudden unintended acceleration caused the accident.
The Solara is not included in the recent recalls of Toyota vehicles.
"My mother was driving her 2004 Toyota Solara and had an accident. The car jumped the curb, hit a tree, a lamp post and crashed into a stone sign. She was taken to the hospital where they found a large bruise on her arm. The doctors sent her for a scan right away but she had a stroke and never recovered. She died four days later," the complaint states.
"I realize that the current Toyota accelerator recall does not involve the Solara at this time, but our family is now suspicious. A cause of my mother's accident has not been determined. She died before police were able to ask her about the accident. The car is still smashed up and has not been repaired. Should we investigate this matter further?"
Date: Oct. 13, 2009
Victims: Stephen Lagakos, Regina Lagakos, Helen Lagakos, Stephen Krause
Location: Peterborough, N.H.
Model: 2005 Toyota Highlander
Details: Stephen Lagakos, his wife, Regina Lagakos, and his mother, 94-year-old Helen Lagakos, were returning from a birthday celebration at the family's lakeside country house in Rindge, N.H., when other motorists observed Lagakos' 2005 Highlander traveling at high speed, passing other vehicles erratically in the breakdown lane, according to a complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .
All three were killed when the Toyota collided with a Chevrolet Malibu on U.S. 202 near Peterborough. The driver of the Malibu, 56-year-old Stephen Krause of Keene, N.H., also died.
Reported by friends and family to be an exceptionally experienced and safe driver, Stephen Lagakos, 63, was a professor at Harvard University's School of Public Health. Colleagues said his work in statistical science was critical to unraveling environmental mysteries, including the contaminated water wells of Woburn, Mass., a toxic site that was the subject of the 1996 bestseller "A Civil Action " by Jonathan Harr,which was later made into a movie starring John Travolta.
The NHTSA complaint filed in January by Marvin Zelen, Lagakos' boss, suggested that the accident was caused by sudden unintended acceleration. Zelen wrote that Lagakos was a careful driver with an excellent safety record.
"I had been in his car with him hundreds of times. Very safe driver -- no cowboy," the report said. "Believe car had uncontrolled acceleration."
Date: Oct. 22, 2009
Victim: Sage Janesch
Model: 2005 Toyota Prius
Details: Sage Janesch, 18, was returning home after visiting his pregnant girlfriend when his 2005 Prius jumped a curb on a winding freeway onramp and struck a support beam beneath Interstate 10. The impact tore off the car's roof and killed Janesch instantly, the teen's father said.
Even though the Prius has not been recalled, Steve Janesch said he believed a defect may have contributed to the crash that killed his son, a former high school wrestler and rifle marksman who had aspired to become a police officer.
"It's a very dangerous, tight corner that my son was very well aware of. It would have been insane for him to speed through it," the father said. "I think the car accelerated and Sage couldn't handle it."
After Toyota recalled some of its models for acceleration issues, the teen's parents asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate to determine whether a defect in the Prius contributed to the crash.
"We're hoping they will go and pull the parts off and see what was going on. We don't want anybody else to die from this. This was our only son," Steve Janesch said. "We can't sue. We're both schoolteachers. We can't afford to do that."
Sage Janesch's parents,who both work at an elementary school in Vail, Ariz., said, "We would like everyone to know that our son was also an organ donor and that his selfless act has given new hope and life to several people including a woman in California who received his beautiful heart."
Date: Nov. 6, 2009
Victim: George E. Fitts
Location: Robertson County, Texas
Model: 2007 Lexus ES350