The 2009 Santa Fe was driving an estimated 90 mph on an urban city street, swerving around cars before striking a semi trailer.Police are investigating potential 'mechanical' issues that may have caused a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe to crash in Erie, Pennsylvania, earlier this month, killing all three occupants.Surveillance video reviewed by police reportedly showed the vehicle swerving through traffic while traveling 90 mph or faster on West 12th St in downtown Erie -- more than double the speed limit -- before slamming into the side of a semi trailer.
The Santa Fe's owner was among the three individuals killed in the crash. Friends told local police he had complained about mechanical issues, including trouble with the accelerator, according to GoErie. Authorities are also reviewing other consumer complaints alleging unintended acceleration in the 2009 Santa Fe.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received nearly 300 complaints related to the 2009 Santa Fe, including 41 submissions focused on "vehicle speed control" components.
"Driving my wife's car around 40 mph and for no reason the car started accelerating to a high rate of speed and I had to lay on the brake but when I took my foot off the brake it again started accelerating at a high rate of speed," one complaint from 2013 says. "I put the car in neutral and the engine was racing very high. I shut the car off and started it again and it was back to normal."
A Buffalo-based attorney representing Hyundai reportedly offered to assist in the Erie investigation. He told local newspapers there was "no documented evidence Hyundai knows of mechanical or electrical issues that lead to acceleration of this or any types of Hyundai vehicles," and referred to a federal study that blamed most unintended acceleration complaints on "pedal misapplication."
The NHTSA has said that many unintended acceleration complaints are likely tied to pedal misapplication, but the complaints are still taken seriously and have led to several investigations. Toyota initially hinted at driver error more than a decade ago before several high-profile fatal accidents prompted recalls for around 10 million vehicles and a $1.2 billion fine.