Investigators from Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday inspected a wrecked Prius and extracted data from the car's event data recorder they hope will help determine what caused the car to speed out of control.
The driver of the car told police the 2005 Prius accelerated on its own as she was driving down her employer's driveway on March 9. She lost control of the car, crossed the road and crashed into a stone wall, police say. She was treated for minor injuries. No other cars were involved in the accident.
A team of six inspectors from Toyota and two from NHTSA spent several hours taking photos and measurements of the damaged vehicle and downloading the black box data from the car, which has been at the Harrison Police Department since the accident. Two independent inspectors from a forensic technology company, hired by the Police Department, also were aiding the investigation.
A Toyota spokesman, Wade Hoyt, said that in this model year Prius, the black box contains data only from the moment the airbags deploy, but not the three seconds before impact that newer models are programmed to record. Hoyt said investigators were pleased they were able to extract any data from the vehicle.
"We are getting information on engine speed, pedal position, that sort of thing," Hoyt said. "I'm happy we have it. It's possible it might not have been in there."