Police Probe Toyota Prius Crash in New York Suburb

March 11, 2010

The driver of a Toyota Prius told police in suburban New York that her car accelerated on its own, then lurched down a driveway, across a road and into a stone wall.

The 2005 Prius’ air bags deployed when the car hit the wall on Tuesday, toppling boulders. The driver, a 56-year-old woman, escaped serious injury, Harrison police Capt. Anthony Marraccini said.

“The impact with the wall was pretty substantial,” he said, adding that some stones from the wall were found 10 feet away.

Toyota has recalled some 8.5 million vehicles worldwide — more than 6 million in the United States — because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius.

Police were investigating the cause of the crash, but Marraccini said a floor mat issue at the heart of many of the recalls did not appear to be a factor. The vehicle had been serviced by Toyota and the floor mats were secured, he said.

“The driver reported to us that the car accelerated while she was exiting her driveway and she lost control of the car,” he said. He said she was lucky not to collide with traffic as the car crossed a street.

Police kept the vehicle for investigation. Toyota said it’s not yet known whether the company will also investigate.

On Monday, California police stopped a runaway Prius going nearly 85 mph. The driver said the pedal jammed.

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