Brockton crash leaves city man shaken
Allen Gilman was pulling into his garage at a crawl with his foot still on the brakes on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 when his 2003 Toyota Camry shot forward crashing into his Thurber Avenue home in Brockton. His wife, Deborah Gilman, was injured in the accident.
Allen Gilman was pulling into the driveway of his Thurber Avenue home at a crawl when, with his foot still on the brakes, his 2003 Toyota Camry lurched forward and crashed into their garage, Gilman recalled.
“We heard a loud metallic snap, and the car shot forward like a bat out of hell,” he said.
At the time, Gilman and his wife, Deborah, were returning from her 68th birthday celebration. The crash left Deborah, who was sitting in the backseat, with a broken wrist and lacerations to her arms and legs. Allen said his airbag didn’t deploy, but he was not injured.
Brockton police who investigated said the accident was not a result of operator error.
Ten days later the 71-year-old city resident and his wife are still shaken by the accident, which they believe was caused by well-documented issues with certain Toyota and Lexus models.
Allen, who has a clean driving record and more than 50-years behind the wheel, said the accident has upended their lives.
“It’s extremely stressful. Our car is totaled, we have medical bills, the garage is still smashed in and there’s damage to our house,” he said.
As of 2010, unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles may have been involved in the deaths of 89 people over the past decade. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that from 2000 to 2010, it had received more than 6,200 complaints involving sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The reports include 89 deaths and 57 injuries.
In October an Oklahoma jury found that a defect in a Camry caused the vehicle to unintentionally accelerate, leading to an accident that left one woman dead and another injured. Toyota Motor Corp. was compelled to pay $3 million in damages.
The lawyers said the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly because of a defect in the car’s electronic throttle-control system, and that Toyota knew about the problems, but concealed that information from the public.
The vehicle in that case was a 2005 Toyota Camry that was not recalled.
Lawyers for Toyota disputed those claims and blamed the crash on driver error.
Toyota agreed to a more than $1 billion settlement in 2012 to resolve hundreds of lawsuits after it recalled millions of vehicles because of sudden acceleration problems. But that settlement did not include those suing over wrongful death and injury.
A trial in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., is set to begin this month. Another case is set for trial in February in state court in Michigan.
Several local Toyota dealerships were contacted for comment on the recent recalls and the issue of sudden acceleration. Many did not return calls.
Kevin Perry, parts and service director at Route 44 Toyota in Raynham, said, “I’m not going to discuss any recalls. That’s not something that I’m going to discuss.” He gave a corporate phone number to call.
Cindy Knight, a spokeswoman for Toyota, said they could not comment in detail about the accident.
“We sympathize with anyone in an accident involving one of our vehicles. However, we can’t comment further on the specifics of this accident, as without more information we are unable to determine whether we have inspected the vehicle or spoken to the customer. We can say that the 2003 Camry was never subject to a recall to address the potential for unintended acceleration,” Knight said.
Gilman is considering possible legal action, but said he didn’t want to discuss it at this time.