Fatal Houston crash leads to lawsuit against Toyota

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The family of a Houston woman whose car sped through a stop sign and smashed into a cement wall, killing her on impact a week before Christmas, filed what is likely the third acceleration-related wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota in the nation Monday.

Trina Renee Harris, a 34-year-old mother of two, died on impact when her 2009 Toyota Corolla slammed into an East Hardy Toll Road cement divider at Barry, leaving no skid marks, Houston police reported.

Her husband, Michael Harris, filed a lawsuit Monday against Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., gas pedal maker CTS Corp. and Fred Haas Toyota World, which leased her the car. Lawyers involved in the lawsuit said it's likely the third such case filed in response to acceleration problems that prompted Toyota to recall millions of vehicles and halt some production.

“I want those who were negligent to be held responsible. This problem was there before Dec. 18 when she died,” Michael Harris said. The U.S. Navy petty officer first class had recently completed a stint on an aircraft carrier in the Middle East and was in San Diego when he learned of his wife's death. He returned to Houston, where the family opened Christmas gifts Trina Harris had bought.

“I have a whirlwind of emotions. I'm extremely angry for my children. She won't be there for the prom. When they get married, she won't be there,” Harris said in an interview at the offices of his Houston attorneys, Ken and Judy Mingledorff.

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