Koua Fong Lee can't seem to catch a break. Lee was convicted of killing three people in 2006 when his Toyota Camry struck a vehicle at a stoplight, but he was later freed after prosecutors discovered that Lee may have been a victim of unintended acceleration. He served two and a half years in prison while the justice system ground along, and now Toyota has subpoenaed his 1996 Camry. The manufacturer wants Lee to turn the car over for an examination on the quick. Unfortunately, Lee no longer has the car. It's been locked up in the custody of the St. Paul Police Department since the 2006 accident.
With Lee's name clear, a total of four federal lawsuits have been filed against Toyota by the family members of those killed in the accident. Each claims that Toyota knew of the unintended acceleration issue well before the Lee accident and failed to follow up on those reports in any substantial way. Meanwhile, Toyota claims that the accident wasn't due to unintended acceleration. You can see the conundrum here. If Toyota proves that the accident wasn't the result of unintended acceleration, then it may be the case that Lee was at fault.
Lee's lawyer has expressed obvious concern over allowing Toyota to examine the vehicle unsupervised. So for now, it remains in St. Paul PD custody.
[Source: The Pioneer Press | Image: Ben Garvin, AP Photo/Pioneer Press]