Jury in Toyota case told to disregard driver's prison time before publicity spurred release

Associated Press

Jurors hearing a lawsuit against Toyota over a 2006 crash that killed three people in Minnesota are being told to disregard the imprisonment of a driver who was later freed after publicity over sudden acceleration in some Toyota cars.

Koua (KOO'-uh) Fong Lee spent 2½ years in prison after his 1996 Camry hit the back of an Oldsmobile in St. Paul. He is among is among several plaintiffs seeking damages from Toyota over the crash.

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Lee has always maintained that he pumped his brakes but the car wouldn't stop. Toyota says Lee's car wasn't defective and he hit the gas instead of the brake.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery told jurors in St. Paul on Thursday that Lee's Camry was never subject to a recall for sudden acceleration problems.