Updated:
Original:

Was fatal St. Paul crash caused by driver error or defective Toyota? Jury deciding

Author:

Three weeks of testimony are over and now a jury will decide whether a car crash that killed three Minnesotans was caused by a defective Toyota or by driver error.

A Camry driven by Koua Fong Lee accelerated up an Interstate 94 exit ramp and rear-ended an Oldsmobile Ciera in the 2006 crash in St. Paul. Three people in the Ciera were killed and two others injured.

Since the trial began in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, attorneys for Lee and other plaintiffs have argued a defect caused the Toyota's accelerator to stick, leading to the accident. Toyota says inspections found nothing wrong with the car and Lee must have pushed the wrong pedal.

In Wednesday's closing statement, attorney Bob Hilliard said Lee "lives with consequences that are hard to imagine" and described his client's pain as unhealable, the Pioneer Press reports.

Toyota attorney David Graves countered that Lee mistaking the gas pedal for the brake is the only explanation for the accident, the Associated Press says.

Lee was convicted of vehicular homicide in 2008. While he was imprisoned, reports of sudden acceleration problems with some Toyota models began to emerge. In 2010 a judge ordered a new trial for Lee but prosecutors declined to press charges again and he was released.

Lee described his saga in an 11-minute video called "The Road to Justice," produced by RumJungle Media.

Last month he became the first person to be compensated for wrongful imprisonment under a new Minnesota law.

Lawsuits against Toyota filed by an injured survivor of the 2006 crash, family members of those killed, Lee, and his family were combined into a single case, the Pioneer Press reports.

The author of a book about Lee's saga sat through the civil trial in Minneapolis and tells WCCO her gut feeling is that jurors will side with the plaintiffs.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

I-94 closed westbound after 'serious crash' in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.

pixabay - us supreme court

MN, WI attorneys general push SCOTUS to block to Texas abortion law

They say the law is in "direct contravention of nearly a half century of binding precedent."

Related