Camry accelerates into beauty salon

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Toyota will send an independent group of investigators to Lee County after a 2007 Camry crashed through the front door of a salon.

Luckily no one was hurt, but the driver told investigators as she was pulling in to park, the car suddenly accelerated. The car had recently been in the shop as part of the Toyota's recall.

It looks like a bomb went off inside the Act Three Salon. That's exactly how owner Gail Moree described it as a Toyota Camry shot through the front door, spraying glass, shoving furniture, and knocking over walls.

"It's hard to say how fast it was going probably maybe 10 miles per hour, 10-15 maybe," said Capt. Keith Houston, Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Sixty-four year old Glenda Whitfield was the first appointment of the day. Moree was the only one inside and at the back of the store through a doorway when Whitfield's car exploded through the door.

"She said as she was pulling up the vehicle accelerated and went through the wall," said Houston.

Whitfield's 2007 Toyota Camry was in the shop last week, for the 90-L recall.

"The carpet was curling up so the fix was to take the carpet and secure it to the floor board and then you redesign the gas pedal itself so that there's no friction at all," said Alan Murphy, Toyota of Albany Owner/General Manager.

Toyota will send an outside third party engineer team in to look at the vehicle that's been taken to a secure site.

"They're going to pull the EMC computer module out of it which is equivalent to the black box in the airplane and that will tell engineers exactly what transpired, whether she put her foot on the gas or put her foot on the brake or if it accelerated or didn't or whatever it maybe," said Murphy.

More than 100 people have complained to the government about problems with sudden acceleration after Toyota dealers fixed their vehicles.

Toyota points out there are only two accelerator companies in the United States and in a recent study done by every car company had incidents of sudden acceleration with GM leading the pack.

What happened in this case has yet to be determined.

Toyota estimated that it would be three to four days before the investigative team made their way here to southwest Georgia, and couldn't say how long the investigation would take.

Toyota has told dealers it will provide replacement accelerator pedals to owners who are dissatisfied with the repairs under the massive recall. Both Toyota and government regulators have said it is extremely difficult to recreate the out of control incidents being reported.

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