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Police agree Prius driver caused crash

An investigation found that the Prius driver never braked before she crashed into a wall, Harrison, N.Y., police said. An investigation found that the Prius driver never braked before she crashed into a wall, Harrison, N.Y., police said. (Stephen Chernin/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 23, 2010

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HARRISON, N.Y. — Police who investigated the crash of a Toyota Prius in the New York suburbs said yesterday they agreed with federal regulators that driver error caused it.

The investigation found that the driver, housekeeper Gloria Rosel, never braked before she crashed into a wall, Harrison police Captain Anthony Marraccini said. She was not seriously injured.

“The vehicle accelerator in this case was depressed 100 percent at the time of collision, and there was absolutely no indication of any brake application,’’ Marraccini said. “She believes she depressed the brake, but that just simply isn’t the case here,’’ he said. There was no intent to deceive, he said, and Rosel won’t be charged.

The finding concurs with that of US safety regulators, who said last week the car’s computers showed the throttle was open and the brakes not applied.

Rosel, 56, was driving the 2005 Prius on March 9 when she reported that it sped up on its own down a driveway and slammed into a stone wall despite her braking.

Toyota spokesman Wade Hoyt said the investigation showed that the company’s cars are safe, and that “if you step on the brake they’ll stop, even if the accelerator is glued to the floor.’’

The company also said it would continue to investigate “reported incidents of unintended acceleration.’’

The Prius had not been recalled for sticky accelerators. However, it had been repaired for the floor mat problem.