US reports claim Utah police believe an accelerator-related defect could be responsible for the high-speed crash of a Toyota Camry that left two dead.

The driver, 66-year-old Paul Vanalfen, and 38-year-old Charlene Lloyd, died after their 2008 Camry crashed into a rock wall in Wendover, Utah, on November 5.

Two other family members were injured in the accident and admitted to hospital, but have been released.

Highway patrol Sergeant Nathan Croft told reporters the skid marks on the road revealed the driver tried unsuccessfully to stop the car before an intersection as it left a highway.

He said there did not appear to be anything wrong with the vehicle’s brakes.

Millions of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles have been recalled in the past 12 months over issues with sticking accelerator pedals and floor mats that could interfere with the pedals.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received reports of up to 93 sudden acceleration-related deaths over the past decade from Toyota drivers, however only four have been confirmed by the US Government.

Sgt Croft confirmed Mr Vanalfen’s Camry had undergone one mandatory recall for a sticking accelerator pedal, but it was still uncertain whether two voluntary repairs to correct a sticky floor mat and a short accelerator pad had also been completed.

He said police and investigators suspected one of those issues could have caused the crash.

“We can’t say definitely, but there is a strong likelihood that that in fact did cause the crash,” he said.

The police report also noted two of the passengers, Ms Lloyd and her fiancé, Cameron Vanalfen, were not wearing seatbelts.

Toyota responded by expressing its sympathy to those affected by the accident. Spokesman Paul Nolasco said Toyota was supporting police with the investigation and said it was too early to draw conclusions from the incident.

No Toyota or Lexus vehicles sold in Australia were affected by the accelerator pedal or floor mat recalls. Toyotas sold in Australia sourced related components from different suppliers.


    so there is no “seat belt reminder” chimes in yank camry’s,or maybe they hit the wall in an attempt to turn them off…

  • Toyota Guru

    It’s obviously too hard to turn ignition to off or smack the gear lever into neutral… sigh…

    CA reports: “The police report noted that two of the passengers, Ms Lloyd and her fiancé, Cameron Vanalfen, were not wearing seatbelts.”

    Dumbos in the good ol’ USA still don’t get it when it comes to wearing seatbelts.

    I think just about any car hitting that solid rock wall would result in fatalities.

  • Crouchy

    They weren’t wearing seatbelts?

    The car caused the crash but they probably caused their own deaths… pretty simple isnt it.

  • Shak

    I agree with all of the above about seatbelts and the Good ‘ol USA, but this nonsense about bumping it into Neutral really wouldnt have helped in this instance as the car would have been travelling at considerable speed, and as the report says, the brakes work, but didnt activate.

    • Phil

      There were skid marks on the road and the police said there was nothing wrong with the brakes. Please read again.

      • Golfschwein

        No ABS?

      • JR

        How does a car with ABS leave skid marks ?

  • yowza

    USA Seatbelts are optional for most states… I think Michigan, Seatbelts are mandatory.

    And looking at 1 of the photos, An aftermarket Floor mat which is much thicker than the genuine floor mat and also has engravings/grooves near the pedal that allows the pedal to get ‘trapped’ easily…. the design of the pedal was suspect enough that it is only non-interfering with genuine products… but having a thick floor mat that has trappings on it…. its just promoting an accident to happen…

    And again, seatbelts would of cut down the chances of fatalities significantly….

    • Stoney!

      That is a file photo of the factory floor mats!!!


  • Daniel

    Yeh it’s all well and good to say that the accelerator was stuck but the reality is the brakes on any car are much more capable than the engine is. Problem is most people don’t realise they WILL stop the car if you push hard enough.

  • RoFlmaTiC

    If there’s skid marks I don’t understand how it could be due to the accelerator pedal? Correct me if I’m wrong but if the brakes were strong enough to stop the wheels (even if the accelerator pedal was jammed) it wouldn’t have made a difference?

    • Stoney!

      Front wheel drive, most likely locked up the rear wheels but the fronts were still motoring, Wouldn’t take long to cook the brakes and render them useless with that much force on them whilst not actually pulling the wheel up.


  • Richard

    Not to mention that the Camry would have been fitted with ABS

  • Steve

    I find it interesting that Toyota Australia says there is no issue yet I have seen memo’s at Toyota dealers explaining what to do with campy accelerator pedals, floor mats ect.

  • Laurie

    Seriously a Camry engine overpowering the brakes? Also front brakes are generally stronger than the rears. More questions than answers as usual.

  • Edge

    I’m asking myself “Why didn’t he veer off from the wall?” I was expecting the car not to be straight to the wall.

  • Golfschwein

    I agree with above…more questions than answers here.

  • JR

    Smells like more BS Toyota bashing to me. Off ya go boys let er rip !

  • Save It for the track

    A few points. Even cars with ABS sometimes leave skid marks, I have seen them at accidents, and hace even witnessed an ABS vehicle attempting to stop from a large speed and crash, leaving skid marks(they look slightly different from non-ABS skid marks). Next, if the accellerator is jammed on, either by mechanical or other means (in the old days cables would get stuck [been there, done that]), brakes will not overcome that and will overheat. The simplest thing to do is put it in neutral, the engine can rev it’s guts out (and many marques have a cut-out, so they can’t be overrevved in neutral), or turn the ignition off but at least you should be able to stop. The brakes will still work with the ignition off, you just have to push harder.

    • Blitzkrieg

      Don’t turn the ignition off,the ability to steer and control the vehicle becomes much harder and heavier with no power steering.

  • katyperry


    toyta kamikaze