Car owners suing Subaru, saying their cars accelerated without them touching the gas pedal

ORLANDO, Fla. — Some Subaru drivers say their cars accelerated without them ever hitting the gas.


Karen Karna’s 2016 Subaru Outback rammed a box truck.

“It was life or death for me. I mean, it happened that fast,” she told Channel 9 Investigative Reporter Jeff Deal.

Ron Pepe’s shop was annihilated in Arizona when he says his Subaru decided to accelerate on its own.

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His wife, Theresa Rawls said she never touched the gas pedal, “I’m waiting for my garage door to go up and it took off.”

The driver of a 2016 Forester had to be cut out of the car in Massachusetts.

“I know that it was an unintended acceleration. It was such force,” Cheryl Boucher said.

All three drivers blame Subaru for the crashes. Boucher and a dozen others are suing Subaru.

The 2020 potential class action lawsuit claims the automaker “... knew that the Class Vehicles contain one or more defects that cause sudden and unintended acceleration without driver input.”

Attorney for the class action suit, Russell Paul, said Subaru has known about the defect.

“We have alleged Subaru has known since 2011 of this issue, and they’ve known it from complaints by customers directly to Subaru and to its dealers, as well as information passed on from Subaru pre-release testing.”

In the case of Karen Karna’s 2016 Outback, her simple trip to the nursery quickly turned into terror.

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“I thought, what’s going on? What’s wrong with my car? I have no control.”

She said the gas pedal “grabbed hold” and slammed to the floor.

“I could see what was coming in front of me and what decisions I had to make from killing somebody or killing myself or injuring myself or somebody,” Karna said.

Her sternum was cracked in the crash.

“We’d been married 58 years. It’s okay. She could have died,” her husband, Duane said.

The lawsuit says there were more than 150 complaints filed to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration about “Sudden Unintended Acceleration.”

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In a statement, a spokesman for Subaru said:

“Subaru of America takes safety very seriously, and we are not aware of a single confirmed case of unintended acceleration in a Subaru vehicle.”

“When reviewing cases with Event Data Recorder (EDR) data, the results invariably show that the vehicle driver pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal.”

Russell Paul is disputing this claim. “We’ve spoken to many, many of the class members. You’ve heard them testify, ponder over their experiences, and we’d analyze their crash data. And we’ve also created a simulation of all of the incidents that occurred. We believe they are clear, clear expressions of unintended acceleration,” Paul said.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.