Toyota technicians investigate car in restaurant crash

Toyota technicians investigate car in restaurant crash »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Technicians are investigating a runaway Lexus that rammed into a restaurant last week.

Both the runaway car and the damaged restaurant belong to the Lee family, who are angry at Toyota. They are convinced the car maker is hiding critical information about the crash.

Hyekyong Lee was pulling into the parking lot of the Kalbi Grill Express last week when her Lexus RX 350 reportedly accelerated out of control and crashed into the building.

"My daughter said, 'Mom, what are you doing?' So I said, 'Oh, brake doesn't work,'" she said, adding she was certain she hit the brakes. "Yes, so many times."

On Thursday Toyota technicians allowed KOMO News to watch their initial physical inspection.

But when they started downloading crash information from the vehicle's event data recorder, Toyota officials didn't let anyone - not even the Lees - take photos or video.

And the Lees don't trust Toyota to tell the truth.

"Could be your family," said Tony Lee. "Could be you."

Two years ago, a Problem Solvers investigation into the death of Chris Eves prompted Toyota to relax its rules on downloading crash data. KOMO News even obtained exclusive video of technicians downloading Eves' data recorder.

But on Thursday Toyota refused to relax anything, preventing even the Lees from recording the data from their own car.

"It's my car, my building," Tony Lee said. "It happened here, so I'm going to find out. I'm going to stop them."

The technicians did give the Lees a copy of the downloaded crash data, but would not explain what the information means.

According to the data, there were three crashes recorded. For the last two crashes, which occurred when the car ultimately stopped, the report said the brakes were never used.

But for the first crash, presumably when Hyekyong Lee hit the building, no brake information was provided.

"I'm going to find out what's the truth," said Tony Lee.

Toyota did issue a recall on the Lees' Lexus last month for unintended accelerations, blaming the problem on trapped floor mats. But Tony Lee said his floor mats are locked in place. He added Toyota is ignoring the real issues.