toyota recall could free jailed camry owner

By now, you've heard about the massive recall on Toyota vehicles that has rocked the auto industry. So what if you were blamed -- and sent to prison -- for an car accident that wasn't actually your fault? What if it was indeed the car's fault, as you've insisted all along?

It looks like that's what might have happened in Minnesota, when Koua Fong Lee's Camry experienced brake failure, suddenly accelerated and slammed into another car, killing three members of one family: New Evidence of Runaway Toyotas May Help Imprisoned Camry Owner.
The county prosecutor, Susan Gaertner, said she welcomed an inspection of the Toyota "to see if there is any possibility that this particular car had mechanical difficulties that would lead to sudden acceleration syndrome."

There was no evidence of alcohol or drug impairment in the case, which occurred on a Sunday afternoon in June 2006 as Lee returned home from church with his pregnant wife and other members of his family.

Lee's car hit the other car at a speed estimated between 70 and 90 miles per hour. Lee testified he shouted to his family, "Brakes, brakes not working," moments before the fatal crash.

The jury apparently did not believe Lee's testimony, said Schafer, who did not represent him during the trial.

"He's always, from the day this happened, maintained it was the car," said Schafer. Lee's testimony was presented through a Laotian translator and Schafer said the judge commented at Lee's sentencing that Lee did not seem to show remorse.
This is crazy. Lee, a Hmong refugee from Laos, is now serving an eight-year sentence in a Minnesota state prison. Could it really be that the flaws in his Camry caused the "unintended acceleration," and it's Toyota that's been responsible for the death of these three people all along? What a nightmare. For the sake of justice, let's hope Lee gets his retrial.

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