Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Repost From GMA News.TV

Fil-Am family gets $10-M settlement for Toyota car crash

CHICAGO – Automaker Toyota acted as Santa Claus Wednesday but it looks like the car dealer was a Grinch.

Toyota offered $10 million to settle out of court a lawsuit that followed an August 2009 Toyota car crash in San Diego, California, which killed in a fireball a family of four people, including two Filipino Americans.

The tragic crash allegedly resulted from the Lexus "accelerating on its own" while on the freeway. The case against the Toyota manufacturer was dropped, but the civil case against Toyota car dealer Bob Baker Lexus will continue, according to the San Diego counsel of the families of the victims. Toyota agreed to pay $10 million to settle the lawsuit that arose from the crash of a Lexus car in a San Diego suburb, which killed California Highway Patrol officer Mark Wesley Saylor, 45; his Filipina wife, Cleofe L. Saylor, 45 (a native of Nabua, Camarines Sur); their daughter, Mahala Manda Saylor, 12; and Cleofe’s younger brother, Christopher N. Lastrella, 38. Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota car models. THE VICTIMS. Mark Wesley Saylor (from left), 45, a California Highway Patrol Officer, and his daughter, Mahala Manda Saylor, 12, his wife, Cleofe L. Saylor, 45, a native of Nabua, Camarines Sur in the Philippines, and his brother-in-law, Christopher N. Lastrella, 38, are seen in this composite file photo provided by the Saylor family to newsmen after they all died in a ball of fire when their Toyota Lexus “accelerated on its own" last August on a freeway in San Diego, California. Courtesy of Joseph Lariosa.

The amount was part of a settlement reached in September between Toyota and the Saylor relatives, who had wanted the settlement kept under wraps. Toyota had opposed efforts of Bob Baker Lexus and several media organizations to make the settlement amount public. “Toyota and the Saylor and Lastrella families reached a private, amicable settlement through mutual respect and cooperation without the involvement of the courts, so we are disappointed that the amount of this settlement has now been made public against the express wishes of these families and Toyota," according to a Toyota statement. The accident turned into a national debate as Fe Lastrella, the mother of Mark Saylor’s wife, Cleofe, was invited before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. to speak about the car crash. It also got the attention of the world’s largest automaker and prompted Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the Japanese company’s founder, to testify in an extraordinary appearance before a committee of the U.S. Congress.

Toyoda apologized to Congress, the millions of Toyota owners, and to the Saylor family repeatedly during his three hours of testimony. –MRT/JV, GMANews.TV

Reposted From GMA News.TV

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