Sandusky lawyer: Sudden acceleration deaths in cars ‘a national tragedy’

“I am trying to use this book as a way of calling attention to the critical need of a Car Owners Bill of Rights. Car owners are entitled to know the risk of a car”
Melissa Topey
May 5, 2014


A local attorney involved in several sudden acceleration lawsuits would like to see legislators create a Car Owners Bill of Rights.

Tom Murray, partner with Murray and Murray law firm, for almost two decades has represented several families in Sudden Acceleration class action lawsuits against auto manufacturers, such as Volkswagen and Ford.

“It is a national tragedy,” Murray said.

He has written “Deadly By Design,” a book detailing the cover-up by automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after cases of deadly Sudden Acceleration came to light.

The book details many cases of sudden acceleration, including Murray’s introduction into the corruption and greed of auto manufactures dealing with sudden acceleration, with the heartbreaking story of Cleveland minister Leon Manigault.

Manigault was approaching 60 when he bought his first brand-new car, a Ford Crown Victoria. Manigault, his wife and two of his foster children were in the car when Manigault started the car to pull out of his driveway. The car accelerated suddenly and crashed into his neighbor’s house.

Manigault was left in a permanent comatose condition.

Murray first wrote the story to expose and educate the public on the cover-up he found. He now wants it to spur action.

“I am trying to use this book as a way of calling attention to the critical need of a Car Owners Bill of Rights. Car owners are entitled to know the risk of a car” Murray said.

He calls it Risk, Recognize and Respond.

He’s hoping to soon meet with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, on the issue.

The bill would make it a duty for manufacturers to inform a driver of the risks of a car — such as possible electronic problems — and how to recognize those risks when they happen, and also how to respond.

The firm has detailed where sudden acceleration has played a role in 5,000 deaths. The manufacturers, backed by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, blamed the sudden acceleration incidents on the drivers, alleging they hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The book details how a rush to bring untested electronics into the market led to electronic confusion and faulty design, the real cause behind sudden acceleration, a problem Ford knew about.

“They turned against the people who bought their product,” Murray said. “Every time a big shot didn’t pay attention to an engineer, every time they did that to save a few dollars they were betraying the trust of the engineers, the car dealers and the line workers as well”

A Car Owners Bill of Rights could also help protect the jobs of autoworkers, from the engineer to the line worker, by rebuilding confidence in American-made vehicles. Such confidence has been eroded by continual problems and delayed recalls, Murray said.

Proceeds from the sale of “Deadly By Design” will benefit the nonprofit Wightman/Wieber Foundation, which funds KidsFest and offers grants and scholarships to local residents.

“Wightman/ Wieber is concerned for children safety, family safety. Sudden Acceleration is a family safety issue” Murray said.

Want to help
Buy “Deadly By Design” to learn about sudden acceleration and help the Wightman/Wieber Foundation.

Paperback and electronic copies can be purchased at   A Kindle version is available on Amazon.



And lawyers wonder why they're held in such contempt by the public....

Yes, let's make cars MORE unaffordable by using junk science to heap blame on manufacturers for peoples' inability to drive.

How is it that these deadly by design cars know the age of the driver, since 90% of sudden acceleration incidents happen to drivers over 65?

Car & Driver performed tests regarding this. They measured the 70=0mph stopping distance on a Camry, with and without the accelerator held to the floor. The difference was less than 12 feet.

Same thing with the Ford Explorer rollover situation. They took one of the model implicated, and rigged the implicated tire to blow by remote control. They blew the tire at 70mph and their test driver was able to bring the car to a safe stop, without leaving the lane, WITH NO HANDS ON THE WHEEL!!

The fact remains that the single most dangerous defective part in a car is the nut behind the wheel.

JT Adams St

Yep. Detroit has never manufactured a defective product, or disregarded consumer safety. Every recall is just another example of "junk science" run amok. I should have studied junk science in college. Detroit seems to keep those junk science guys really busy.


Detroit has manufactured plenty of defective stuff - and notice, despite having the highest statistical rate of defects for 50 years now, the Big Three are notably absent from the big sudden acceleration controversies. That should tell you something.

There are real defects, and then there are attempts to blame the car for driver incompetence. Unfortunately, the plaintiff's bar can't tell the difference.

Stop It

He thinks he's Ralph Nader.


Nemisis you are right......over 65. Qualified drivers needed.

There you go again

We are hearing about a lot of "cover ups" in the news lately. So why don't people who are "uncovered" in the cover ups ever get penalized or sent to jail?

The Big Dog's back

OMG! Ford? The right wingnuts prize auto maker? Fix Or Repair Daily?


What? you mean they don't all drive Rolls Royces?


Dawg drives a black bmw

CharleneBlake's picture

Singer/songwriter, Kris Kitko did an AWESOME job on her YouTube video, "Toyota Where Are Ya?" The video was directed at Toyota regarding her own real world experience with Toyota SUA, sudden unintended acceleration. With her satirical approach, she completely destroyed the Toyota and NHTSA myth about SUA, namely “pedal misapplication” by drivers. Unfortunately, Kris Kitko’s YouTube video is no longer available for viewing online.

In the wake of the NHTSA/DOJ $1.2 BILLION settlement following a CRIMINAL investigation, Kris should be encouraged to use her finely-honed musical skills to do a sequel to her first Toyota SUA YouTube video. The U.S. Federal Government allowed Toyota “deferred prosecution” in this settlement provided it follow the steps outlined in the terms of the agreement. No one…not one single Toyota executive…is going to serve any prison time for knowingly withholding evidence that could have saved many lives and ensured public safety on the roads.Toyota ADMITTED that it LIED to both the Toyota customers and the government.

Michael Barr, renowned embedded systems expert, after studying Toyota’s ETCS-I far longer than NASA did, found the existence of faults in the software which could lead to a real-world, potentially-catastrophic SUA event with a number of potentially ineffective fail-safes. Imagine flying down the road in a Toyota with no functioning brake override to exit a software task-death! Isn’t that a bit like being on a high-speed roller coaster and having the track fail to keep you on? And want to know the most SHOCKING part? Toyota reportedly didn't have a copy of the code in their OWN monitor chip! Michael Barr and company had to SHOW them! Can we just say, “Scary!”

Toyota cites that there is no electronic cause for SUA in its vehicles based on the short-duration investigations by NHTSA and NASA. Michael Barr and other experts have shown these studies to be scientifically seriously flawed. First, the ETCS-I software investigation was extremely limited. Only a SMALL FRACTION of the embedded software was tested by NASA.

Secondly, Toyota misrepresented the presence of EDAC RAM (error detection and correction random access memory) while indications of this issue were apparently redacted in the original NHTSA report. This misled NASA into NOT LOOKING INTO a number of potential sources of failure – which they may otherwise might have.

According to NASA expert, Dr. Henning Leidecker, some Toyota's can grow "tin whiskers" within certain electronic components. This can result in short circuits which can lead to yet another type of electronically-induced SUA event. Dr. Leidecker and associates actually DID FIND and study a case of "tin whiskers" found within the accelerator pedal assembly; rendering a Toyota vehicle UNDRIVEABLE.

Dr. Leidecker suggests driving the affected Toyota vehicles is "a game of Russian roulette." Dr. Leidecker is most concerned about 2002-2006 Toyota Camrys with their potential to grow "tin whiskers." He indicates the risk of this condition increases over time.

Meanwhile, whistleblower Betsy Benjaminson remains scared for Toyota drivers. She is convinced Toyota's own internal documents strongly indicate SOMETHING IS WRONG with their ETCS-i ELECTRONICS . She says "ghosts" indicate glitches can cause a runaway car. Betsy now blogs on a website where she continues to EXPOSE key documents that she says open the company's PR KIMONO. Betsy's goal is to reveal the true inside story of Toyota's SUA problem and to demonstrate and expose the differences between the company walk and company talk.

How did Betsy turn whistleblower? As a Japanese-to-English translator, Betsy was hired by Toyota's legal team to translate documents for the criminal investigation of Toyota. Just like the DOJ, Betsy SMELLED A RAT. After checking with top experts, she came forward to alert the public to the major safety issues involved.

So, WHY is Toyota trying so hard to CONVINCE its own customers and the public that its vehicles suffer from SUA caused only by 1) improperly placed or type of floor mats (huh?); 2) sticky accelerator pedals (like those pesky sticky Sienna minivan sliding doors?); or 3) pedal misapplication (oh...the little old lady theory?). Why does it IGNORE the recent findings of the electronic experts? WHY isn’t it currently LISTENING to its own customers?

Well, YOU be the judge. The FACTS are before you.

Follow @charleneblake on Twitter for more on Toyota sudden unintended acceleration.


I've read Barr's analysis, it's full of fallacies, and yes, I trust my own decades of experience developing control software over some hippy with a guitar and a webcam.

Does Barr explain how the software knows the driver is elderly?

CharleneBlake's picture

Dr. Antony Anderson has shown in a very clear way that the EDR (black box) in this 2012 Toyota Highlander recorded INACCURATE data. This data is being used by Toyota to incriminate the driver of the vehicle. The Toyota analysis: "driver error."

The driver was braking in an attempt to stop the out-of-control Highlander. When the braking proved INEFFECTIVE, she attempted to use the gear shifter to get the vehicle back under control. Nothing worked. Finally, the vehicle stopped its self-acceleration.

It's very interesting because Toyota itself claimed that its own EDR was "unreliable"...that is until it could use the inconsistent/unreliable data to BLAME THE OWNER! Toyota felt it was a good deal to use the unreliable EDR data to,it's own advantage. Nice move against the loyal Toyota customer!

When the Totota vehicle owners state emphatically that they were braking, Toyota essentially says, "Oh no you weren't and here's the unreliable EDR data to prove it!" In many cases of Toyota SUA reports, the SUA event is initiated by the initial brake pedal depression as victims are parking or leaving a parking spot. In many of these cases, the brake lights do NOT illuminate despite forceful braking effort by the Toyota and Lexus drivers.

The NHTSA and DOJ have not addressed ELECTRONIC sudden unintended acceleration in Toypta and Lexus vehicles. Only mechanical causes and driver error were noted in the Toyota BILLION $$ settlement with the U.S. Government. Why??

Toyota and Lexus vehicles owners have a right to be better protected than this. Toyota's LOSS in the Bookout V. Toyota case resulted in Michael Barr's 800 page report being court-sealed. Doesn't the public have a right to see this report in the interest of PUBLIC SAFETY? After all, Michael Barr uncovered serious ELECTRONIC glitches in Toyota's ETCS-i (electronic throttle control system) software which could lead to an SUA event with an ineffective fail-safe situation!

Does it make any sense for this important document to be HIDDEN from the public?

Charlene McCarthy Blake


Blah blah blah. There is no street legal car whose engine can overpower its brakes. Car and Driver repeated the Camry test with a 550 horsepower modified Mustang, and the brakes were still more powerful than the engine.

People need to learn how to drive.

CharleneBlake's picture

There should be a link to Dr. Antony Anderson's 2012 Highlander Crash into a House Analysis at

Stop It

CharleneBlake, do you really think MOST will read your tomes?

I was bored s!*tless just after two sentences.

The Big Dog's back

Proves my point. After 2 sentences, right wingnuts are lost.