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NY police: Prius crash caused by driver's error

HARRISON - Police who investigated the crash of a Toyota Prius in Westchester County said Monday that they agreed with federal regulators that driver error caused it.

The investigation found that Gloria Rosel, 56, never braked before she crashed into a wall March 9, Harrison police Capt. 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, Marraccini said, and Rosel won't be charged.

The finding concurs with that of investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who said last week that the car's computers showed the throttle was open and the brakes not applied.

Rosel, a housekeeper, reported that the 2005 Prius sped up on its own down a driveway and slammed into a stone wall despite her braking.

Marraccini said the car's computers showed that the Prius' top speed down the driveway was 35 mph and it was going 27 mph when it hit the wall.

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 accident set off an intense investigation because Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles since the fall over gas pedals that could become stuck or be held down by floor mats.

The Prius in the Harrison crash had been repaired for the floor mat problem; it was not recalled for a sticky accelerator.

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