Woman says she survived runaway Toyota

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

HALLSVILLE, TX (KLTV) - It's made a national story that's getting local attention: the car maker, Toyota has come under huge scrutiny. Tuesday night, ABC's Nightline aired an investigation on Toyota's accelerators, claiming they could be possibly be out of control.

A shaken up Rita Burke watched Nightline's Toyota story that reveals how four people died after the Toyota they were in went out of control.

"What happen to me, happened to someone else, but they lost their lives...and this could have been prevented," said Rita Burke.

She says she, too, lost control of her 2006 Toyota Scion XB.

"I realize that my cruise control was not disengaging and so I started pumping my breaks. Soon, I realized I had no breaks," said Burke. Ii went down Highway 80 sometimes at 73 miles an hour. I tried to disengage the vehicle on numerous occasions with the key, it would not work."

Burke says that's when she pulled into a vacant parking lot of a skate rink. Once she drove in the Rollercade parking lot she drove in doughnuts, and ran over pots holes, desperately trying to stop her vehicle.

"I got down about 29-30 miles an hour and immediately shoved it into park," she said. "The vehicle just abruptly stopped and smoke started coming out from underneath it at that time. I opened the door and hit my knees."

Burke says Toyota fixed her cruise control, but a few months later she says her car surged again. And, for Burke, the thoughts of her car going out of control still haunts her.

"I have panic attacks," she said. "I get in a vehicle my hands start sweating...I can't use the cruise control. I will probably never use the cruise control."

Though, she has all the documents of her Toyota complaints, Burke says she never took legal action. Now, knowing that people have lost their lives makes her think that maybe she should have.

"This should have never happened, and I have myself guilt that I did not step forward sooner," she said, beginning to cry. "I believed them...I believed Toyota."

Burke says since the two out of control incidents she has had with her Toyota, she has returned the vehicle back to Toyota.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.