Toyota recall could free Koua Fong Lee from prison

Koua Fong Lee may not have been responsible for killing three people

Koua Fong Lee: an innocent man? (Photo: Minnesota DOC)

How is this, you say? As you may know, the recent Toyota recall (click the link to see if your vehicle is on it) has placed the spotlight squarely upon various acceleration and braking issues that have been responsible for property damage, injuries and even death. Now it seems that Toyota’s problems could save an innocent man from spending years in prison. Perhaps some quick cash for his pain and suffering will be in order?

Koua Fong Lee tried to stop

He told the Associated Press that he was certain his foot was off the accelerator and he was requesting the brakes as hard as he could. But he couldn’t stop his 1996 Toyota Camry from flying up an interstate ramp, striking a car at a red light in front of him. The crash killed two people in the waiting car (Javis Adams, 33 and his son Javis Jr., 10), while a third died in the hospital (Devyn Bolton, 6). Minnesota police estimate that Koua Fong Lee was traveling anywhere from 70 to 90 miles per hour at the time of impact.

A Minnesota jury didn’t buy his defense, and Koua Fong Lee was sentenced to eight years in prison. But it is the information that has come to light following news of the Toyota recall that has talk of reopening Koua Fong Lee’s case. Prosecutor Phil Carruthers supports the idea.

“We don’t want an innocent man sitting in prison,” he told the AP.

This news of stuck accelerators and failing brakes has also prompted relatives of the deceased to redirect their ire toward the embattled Japanese automaker. They’re going to sue.

Toyota’s acceleration problems “more extensive” than originally believed

Lawsuits are mounting and Congress is breathing down the collective necks of Toyota’s upper management. The cause of the sudden acceleration that has done so much damage is still unclear. While the 1996 Toyota Camry Koua Fong Lee was driving wasn’t named on the initial Toyota recall list, some 1996 Camrys have been recalled due to defective cruise control that could cause sudden acceleration.

Now the judge must be persuaded to start a new trial

Once Koua Fong Lee’s vehicle is reinspected – it’s currently in police impound – the case may be that much closer to re-opening. Your payday loan blogger will concede that nothing can replace those lives that were lost, but justice must shine upon the innocent. The Toyota recall seems enough to get this reopened. Koua Fong Lee should get another chance.

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