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Forest Hills, NY - WWII Vet Crashes Into Synagogue Blames Toyota

Published on: February 9, 2010 07:36 AM
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The 2009 Toyota Camry careered into a Queens building yesterday. Photo: NY PostThe 2009 Toyota Camry careered into a Queens building yesterday. Photo: NY Post

Forest Hills, Queens, NY - A World War II veteran said he and his wife became the latest victims of Toyota accelerator woes when his 2009 Camry’s gas pedal jammed - sending the car careening into a synagogue.

Gerald Silver, 86, a D-Day veteran and Purple Heart recipient, said the gas pedal got stuck on Monday afternoon as he was turning onto Yellowstone Blvd. from Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, a few blocks from his apartment.

“The car just speeded up unbelievably,” said Silver, who was returning home with his wife, Roslyn.

“I attempted to brake it and it just kept getting faster and faster. I was practically right on top of two cars. I hit both of them and then ended up on the steps of the synagogue.”

Silver said the crash could have been much worse. “Thank God that we had our shoulder straps on,” he said.

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Silver said the crash left him “shook up with the nerves,” but his wife suffered a bruise on her forehead and had to be treated at a local hospital.

Police confirmed the crash but would not comment on what may have prompted it.

But Silver had no doubt what caused the accident. “It’s quite obvious - I blame Toyota,” he said.

The incident came as Toyota announced Monday night that it is recalling about 170,000 Prius hybrid cars in Japan for braking problems and will soon disclose its global plans for a fix.

Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, may outline plans Tuesday for a possible recall in the U.S. - which would lift the total recall number to 300,000, a company official told The Associated Press.



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Read Comments (10)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 09, 2010 at 07:42 AM Anonymous Says:

If you have whom to blame. Why not...

2

 Feb 09, 2010 at 08:04 AM Yonason Herschlag Says:

The closest Synogogue to that intersection is a few blocks away. There's a Young Israel on Yellowstone and Burns St, and the Forest Hills Jewish Center on Austin St. Where did he finally crash?

I would have sold my stock in Toyota by now, but I don't have any. It looks like they're going to take some heavy losses, and then some.

3

 Feb 09, 2010 at 08:06 AM Anonymous Says:

No question there is something wrong with the accelerator pedal. In the past, remember Audi?, the car companies blamed driver error and now car mats. But I know people who have a sticky accelerator pedal all the time but they just hit it harder and it unjams. Major design problem. Toyota will survive this if they are upfront about it and just fix it. If they bury it, it will bury them.

4

 Feb 09, 2010 at 09:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Seems like a convenient scapegoat. Gotta get me a Toyota quick and cancel my insurance policy since everything will be their fault anyway!

5

 Feb 09, 2010 at 11:04 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Yonason Herschlag Says:

The closest Synogogue to that intersection is a few blocks away. There's a Young Israel on Yellowstone and Burns St, and the Forest Hills Jewish Center on Austin St. Where did he finally crash?

I would have sold my stock in Toyota by now, but I don't have any. It looks like they're going to take some heavy losses, and then some.

He crashed most likely into FHJC who's main entrance is on Queens Blvd, right past Yellowstone Blvd.

6

 Feb 09, 2010 at 01:50 PM StopKidding Says:

When I was growing up "Made in Japan" meant it was a piece of junk. Still does today. But to be fair, remind me, how old was the driver?

7

 Feb 09, 2010 at 03:25 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

No question there is something wrong with the accelerator pedal. In the past, remember Audi?, the car companies blamed driver error and now car mats. But I know people who have a sticky accelerator pedal all the time but they just hit it harder and it unjams. Major design problem. Toyota will survive this if they are upfront about it and just fix it. If they bury it, it will bury them.

As I recall the Audi issue. The NTSB took several Audis out to their test facility and in two weeks of testing were not able to duplicate the "sudden acceleration" except by deliberately flooring the gas pedal.
There is a difference between the Audi incidents and the current problem. In the Audis. as in all other cars of that vintage, the throttle plate, which controls air inlet to the engine, was directly connected to the gas pedal by a linkage or cable. The ECC (engine control computer) controlled the amount of fuel and the ignition timing based on the position of the throttle plate which was under direct driver control. No amount of computer malfunction could cause the engine to rev up if the trottle plate remained closed. The engine would just stall.
In the Toyotas, There is no direct connection between the throttle plate and the gas pedal. Instead of using the throttle position to calculate fuel input, The "drive by wire" computer looks at the GAS PEDAL POSITION and moves the throttle plate accordingly with a little servomotor. It is quite possible for a computer malfunction to cause the trottle to open regardless of what the driver does to the gas pedal.

8

 Feb 09, 2010 at 06:59 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't believe this man should have such and easy out and blame Toyota. The Camry was recalled as many other cars were. If he is still driving a car that was recalled because it is too dangerous to drive, then HE is responsible for the consequences. It was HIS choice not to return the car or stop driving it even though the problem was well publicized and well known.

This man is irresponsible and should have his driver's license revoked.

9

 Feb 09, 2010 at 09:16 PM Anonymous Says:

A WW2 vet should know better than to buy a Japanese car. They must be trying to retaliate against him....

10

 Feb 10, 2010 at 03:48 PM Anonymous Says:

It is a source of constant amazement to me to discover how many forensic scientists and nuvies can be found on vosizneias and how they are able to deliver such perfect descriptions of what and how and why something happened without ever interviewing witnesses or examining police records or visiting the scene of the accident. I am still waiting for one commentator to say that the accident occurred because the man wasn't wearing a yarmulke or his wife did not light candles last Shabbos or, in this case, the shul that his car charged up to was the shul that he did not go to. These people run off their mouths as if their tongues, like the alleged errant gas pedal, were in stuck postions.

11

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