Page last updated at 21:54 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

'My Toyota crashed through a wall'

Derek McCall's Toyota after crash on Friday 13th
Derek McCall's Toyota after his crash in London on Friday 13 February

Derek McCall is an 81-year-old Toyota driver, from Ickenham, in west London.

On Friday 13 February 2009, his Toyota Auris accelerated out of control, crashed through a wall and into a garden. Toyota said the vehicle was not faulty.

A year later, Toyota has announced plans to recall up to 1.8 million cars, to investigate a "sticking accelerator" problem.

Mr McCall gave his reaction to the news.

I am 81-years-old and my driving career was unblemished, until my accident last February.

It happened on Friday the 13th. I also live at number 13 - but I'm not superstitious.

As I set off from my driveway, I touched the accelerator and the car shot out forward. I was lucky I didn't crash into my neighbour's car.

I should probably have stopped driving right then, but I didn't. I thought: 'The trouble will probably go away if I drive on a bit'.

I carried on, but the car kept racing forward every time I touched the accelerator.

Toyota driver Derek McCall
I was lucky, very lucky in fact - I could have killed someone
Toyota driver Derek McCall

As I came round a left turn, the car lurched forward like a Formula 1 vehicle.

I saw a white van coming towards me. I was going too fast - we were heading for a head-on collision.

I managed to steer out of the way and straight into a parked car, but at least I missed the van.

When I looked out, I could see I was blocking the road, so I tried to reverse out of the way.

But when I touched the accelerator, the car shot backwards.

It spun in a semi circle, hit the kerb and flipped backwards over the pavement and crashed through a wall.

I landed in someone's front garden, with the front wheels hanging in the air, having destroyed a small tree and a bollard.

I was wedged into the car. But the ambulance came and they managed to pull me out and took me to hospital for checks and there was nothing.

'No proof'

I was lucky. Very lucky in fact. I could have killed someone - if there had been anyone on the pavement at the time

The police looked at me very carefully. They asked: "How old are you sir?"

I could see certain thoughts were ticking over in their brain.

My wife didn't believe my story either. There was no proof that it wasn't my own silly fault.

Toyota RAV4
Toyota's urban RAV4 car is one of those models affected

My car was sent back to the Toyota garage for checks. I told them about the engine racing and they said they would check it out.

But when they got back to me, they said they couldn't find anything wrong with the vehicle.

I did however get a new Toyota, so I didn't come out of it too badly.

How did I feel when I heard about the recalls? I was, shall we say, "interested".

I don't think Toyota have deceived me. And I'm not angry with them - I'm not really that kind of person.

But looking back, I was very lucky. And I would have been relieved if Toyota had said to me: "Yes, your car did race forwards. It's not your fault.

So with hindsight, yes, I do feel a little hard done by.

I wonder if my new car will be one of those recalled.




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