Report: CHP officer’s relatives sue Toyota, dealer over fatal crash


Relatives of California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor were reported Wednesday to be suing Toyota Motor Corp. for producing what they say is a fatally flawed vehicle, leading to the deaths of Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court also names Bob Baker Lexus as a defendant, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The El Cajon-based car dealership loaned Saylor a 2009 Lexus ES350 sedan the morning of Aug. 28, after Saylor took his car in for service.

Saylor was driving with his wife, Cleofe; their 13-year-old daughter, Mahala; and his brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella, when the sedan accelerated out-of-control and crashed at about 120 miles per hour where state Route 125 meets Mission Gorge Road in Santee. Authorities later said a wrong-sized floor mat trapped the gas pedal on the Lexus ES350.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit — who accuses Toyota of product liability and Bob Baker Lexus of negligence — are Saylor’s parents and his wife and brother-in-law’s parents, the Union-Tribune reported. They’re seeking an unspecified amount of money.

The Santee crash touched off a wave of recalls by the automaker and an ongoing probe by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington, D.C.

A barrage of federal lawsuits that attorneys hope will be certified as class actions have been filed around the country. A hearing by a special panel of federal judges on whether those suits will be consolidated into one and assigned to a single federal court judge is scheduled for March 25 in San Diego.