Floor Mats the Focus of Deadly Lexus Crash

A CHP officer and 3 family members were killed.

By Susan Taylor
|  Thursday, Sep 10, 2009  |  Updated 11:12 AM PDT
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Friends ID CHP Officer, Family as Crash Victims

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Memorial Service for CHP Officer, Family

Hundreds gathered to remember a CHP officer, his wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law who were all killed in a fiery crash in Santee.

Friends ID CHP Officer, Family as Crash Victims

Four people died Friday when a Lexus sedan lost control on the highway, crashed near Mission Gorge Road in Santee and burst into flames.
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Sheriff's deputies are giving more clues about their investigation into a fiery crash that killed a C-H-P officer and three family members last month, according to a published report.

Mark Saylor, 45, his wife Cleofe, 45, their daughter Mahala, 13 and brother-in-law Chris Lastrella, 38, died in the August 28 crash on highway 125.

A preliminary finding in the investigation indicates the accident may have occurred after the accelerator got stuck on a floor mat, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Witnesses reported seeing a Lexus weaving through traffic at a high rate of speed. The driver tried to make a left turn, but he was going too fast and struck a Ford Explorer. The Lexus broke through a fence and struck a dirt embankment, catapulting it through the air more than 100 feet.

The vehicle landed in dense vegetation near a riverbed and caught fire.

The 2009 Lexus ES 350 was a loaner from Bob Baker Lexus El Cajon.  Investigators said it was equipped with all-weather mats, designed for Lexus vehicles made between 2004 and 2009.  

It's still not clear, however, if they're the same mats that were recalled in 2007 due to concerns that they could trap the gas pedal in the open position.

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