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Toyota to aid Prius crash probe, Schumer wants data

HARRISON - Toyota has agreed to help with the investigation of a Prius accident in this New York suburb, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) demanded Friday that the automaker disclose all its findings.

Electronic data from the Prius could help solve many other crashes, Schumer said at a news conference in front of the wreck.

Toyota granted a request from Harrison police to send an engineer to help decode the data from an electronic recorder in a 2005 Prius that was wrecked Monday when it hit a stone wall. The driver said the car accelerated on its own.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles to address problems with gas pedals.

Schumer said Toyota's pledge of cooperation was vague and lacked specifics. He said he wants the company to allow independent access to the recorder and the software that reads it.

"We don't want that [Toyota] engineer to go take the computer components, the software components, the mechanical components away and then come back and say, 'Here's what we found,' " Schumer said.

Harrison police Capt. Anthony Marraccini said the Prius has not been turned on since the accident and has been secured by the police department.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also sending an inspector to see the vehicle. No time has been set for that examination.

The driver in Monday's accident, a 56-year-old housekeeper whose name has not been made public, said she was easing her employer's 2005 Prius down a curving driveway when it began to accelerate on its own. She said she tried to brake but the car sped up and lurched across a two-lane road and into a stone wall. She said she did not know whether the gas pedal got stuck. She was not seriously hurt.

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