Skip to main content

No new trial warranted in fatal Toyota crash, judge rules

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A judge ruled there will not be a new trial in the case of Koua Fong Lee, the man who sued the Toyota car company claiming a vehicle defect was responsible for a 2006 St. Paul crash that killed three people.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery ruled the jury's verdict in February – which found Toyota partially responsible for the crash due to a faulty accelerator – was warranted, the Pioneer Press reports.

The multimillion dollar payout to the victims' families was also supported by Montgomery, the Star Tribune says; added interest bumped the total past $13 million.

Toyota was seeking a new trial, which was denied Monday, the Pioneer Press says.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BmMZxxtSS_c

Lee spent two years in prison after crashing his 1996 Camry into the back of an Oldsmobile in 2006, killing Javis Trice-Adams Sr, his 9-year-old son, his 6-year-old niece Devyn Bolton, and permanently injuring two others.

Lee was adamant that a fault with his vehicle meant he could not stop his car. He was released from prison and his conviction overturned, with the help of the Minnesota Innocence Project, after Toyota reported some of its models had been experiencing acceleration issues.

The suit against Toyota

Lee and his family were among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the carmaker, alleging that a defect in the Camry had caused the crash.

Lee’s Camry was not included among the models Toyota identified as having problems, but the lawsuit claimed that the crash was caused by a similar defect.

Lee’s attorney argued that every time Lee tapped the gas pedal in the run-up to the crash, the accelerator stuck at increasingly higher speeds, and he crashed despite pumping the brakes several times.

The Japanese carmaker argued that the crash was the fault of driver error, saying Lee had panicked at the sight of upcoming traffic and hit the accelerator rather than the brake.

In February, a federal jury ruled Toyota was 60 percent responsible for injuries sustained in the 2006 crash, with Lee found to be 40 percent responsible. Toyota was told it must pay out around $11 million to the victims and their families, KARE 11 reports.

Next Up

Seventh Street Truck Park shooting, St. Paul

St. Paul man pleads guilty in illegal firearms conspiracy

One of the guns Gabriel Lee Young-Duncan obtained was used in a deadly St. Paul shooting last year.

Train Days

Historic locomotives to roll into St. Paul for Train Days

The festival at the Union Depot returns June 4-5.

Dalton tornado

Tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind possible in Sunday/Monday storms

The Twin Cities is among the areas that could get hit.

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."

Nero

The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.

MPR

APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.

Related