It sent chills down our spine.
A California highway patrol officer and three family members were killed when their loaner car's accelerator stuck and they crashed going 100 mph. The audio of the 911 call made from the car moments before the crash has just been released.
Mark Saylor, 45; his wife, Cleofe, 45; his daughter, Mahala, 13; and his brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella, 38, were all killed in the crash. Listen to the chilling 911 call here:
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Toyota has ordered its dealers to conduct mandatory inspections of all Lexus and Toyota vehicles this week, after a preliminary investigation into the Saylor crash determined that the wrong floor mat had been installed in the loaner Lexus sedan.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators said the all-weather floor mat discovered in the wreckage of the 2009 Lexus ES 350 could have caused the accelerator to become stuck. The rubber mat, sold as an accessory item, was longer by a couple of inches than the original mat that came with the vehicle.
What should we do if our accelerator ever gets stuck? We called our friend Mr. Traffic, a.k.a. Kenny Morse, for guidance.
"Knowing what to do in the unlikely case of a gas pedal sticking might save your life," he says. "First of all, this happens rarely, but if you keep your wits about you and do not panic, it can make all the difference."
Here are his top tips:
• First, try to hit the pedal to make sure nothing is forcing it down.
• Next, PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL IMMEDIATELY, and gently start to brake, being aware of the traffic around you, and pull the car to the side of the street or road as soon as possible.
• The last resort is turning off the ignition, but you have to make sure that you do not lock the steering wheel. You will lose your power in the brakes and steering. DO NOT try to drive the vehicle, as it will rev the engine to a dangerous level.
"Knowing what to do in a potential emergency is what makes a driver a driver," Morse says. "Anyone can step on the gas and go straight, but do you know how to avoid a collision, or something like this?"
For more on how to deal with emergency situations, check out www.mrtraffic.com.
Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of the victims of this horrific crash.