Robert Masato Hirashima, 83, was killed and his wife, 79, was critically injured after the Toyota Prius they were in seemingly accelerated and crashed into a block wall outside a church in Hermosa Beach.
According to a news report in The Daily Breeze, the fatal crash occurred the night of July 28, 2015.
Witnesses told police the Prius was moving at more than 60 mph headed west on Armour Lane and did not appear to brake before it slammed into a block wall.
We offer our deepest condolences to the Hirashima family for their terrible loss. We wish the critically injured driver the very best for a quick recovery.
It is indeed fortunate that no one else was injured in this crash.
Potential Vehicle Defects?
Police initially believed the wife, who was driving, mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake while negotiating the downhill drive.
But, they have now said they will examine the 2002 Toyota Prius to determine whether its accelerator became stuck or some other malfunction occurred.
Police have also sought the help of CHP officials who will recover the vehicle’s “black box” to review what happened just before the crash and examine the vehicle for mechanical defects.
The Importance of an Investigation
In this case, investigators are looking at the black box because they cannot see any other plausible explanation for the driver suddenly accelerating out of control.
She was apparently not under the influence and did not suffer a medical condition. She also did not appear to be disoriented.
But witnesses say the vehicle accelerated out of control and that the driver did not even attempt to brake before it crashed into the wall.
We certainly hope that police thoroughly investigate this incident. In such cases, it is also important that the family retain the services of a reputed auto defect law firm.
Law enforcement agencies often lack the resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate accident cases where auto defects are involved.
Millions of popular Toyota models including Prius models have been recalled for sudden or unintended acceleration issues caused by stuck gas pedals and faulty floor mats.
In fact, our law firm is one of only 3 percent of the nation’s law firms that has the ability to independently investigate accident cases where auto defect may be involved.
The best auto product liability attorneys will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.