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Oklahoma families win lawsuit against Toyota


EUFAULA, Okla. — Toyota settled a ground-breaking case here in Oklahoma that could have ramifications for future settlements.

Six years after a fatal car accident in Eufala the driver said she couldn’t control is over. The lawsuit against Toyota ended on Thursday with $3,000,000 and a settlement of an undisclosed amount being awarded to two families after a jury found Toyota guilty of “reckless conduct.”

“She was a wonderful mother and a wonderful wife and a wonderful grandmother and a wonderful friend, and she is still missed to this day,” Julie Mayfield, daughter of the Barbara Schwarz said about her mother who passed away in the accident.

In 2007 Jean Bookout drove her and her friend Schwarz to Eufaula when Bookout’s 2005 Toyota Camry sped out of control going into a culvert.

Bookout survived the crash, but Schwarz did not. Before she died Schwarz was able to call her husband.

“She tells her husband, ‘Jean couldn’t get her car stopped. The car ran away with us. There`s something wrong with the car.’ Attorney Larry Tawwater said.

“Without that knowledge we wouldn’t know that today that Toyota caused this accident.”

Toyota blamed entrapment of floor mats and a sticky accelerator pedal as the cause of past recalls that are linked to almost 1,000 accidents with multiple fatalities.

This case marks the first time electronics were the sole blame for the accident.

Toyota released a statement about the case stating ‘While we strongly disagree with the verdict, we are satisfied that the parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement to settle this case.”

‘This jury has done something that the government couldn’t do, the congressional hearing didn’t do, and it exposed Toyota, and it`s monumental for the country,” Lead Attorney for the family, Jere Beasley said.