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Feds probe Toyota crash in NYC suburb

The crash of a Toyota Prius in Westchester County caught the attention of federal regulators Wednesday after the driver said it accelerated on its own, then lurched down a driveway, across a road and into a stone wall.

The Tuesday crash in Harrison heightens the attention surrounding unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles and a recall involving more than 8 million cars and trucks to address gas pedals that can become sticky or trapped under floor mats.

The Department of Transportation is looking into the crash, spokeswoman Olivia Alair said Wednesday. It left the front end severely pushed in, the hood buckled and the front bumper and one front headlight broken.

Capt. Anthony Marraccini of the police department in Harrison, north of New York City in Westchester County, said that a regional Toyota official asked to collect the Prius involved in the crash but that the police are "not prepared to release it just yet." He said he wanted to see first if a federal agency wants to join or take over the investigation.

When police release the Prius, Toyota will evaluate it to determine the cause of the accident, a company spokesman said.

The vehicle had been serviced by Toyota for the floor mat problem, Marraccini said.

He added that police would consider the possibility that the driver, a 56-year-old housekeeper, was at fault. But he noted, "There's nothing at this particular time that would indicate driver error." He said she appeared to be properly licensed.

- AP

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