Matt C. Abbott
Boston priest's near-tragic 'Toyota experience'
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By Matt C. Abbott
March 1, 2010

I doubt Father Kevin McGrade of the Archdiocese of Boston will be singing the "Oh what a feeling — Toyota!" jingle any time soon.

A few weeks ago, the retired priest experienced something very similar to what a number of other Toyota customers have reportedly experienced in the last few years — the accelerator got stuck, causing his Toyota Prius hybrid to, in the words of the police report pictured below, "[speed] across the driveway then across the street into the Salt water marsh."

Father McGrade said in an e-mail that he was "not able to stop. The Prius continued to run in salt water for well over an hour; it would not shift, brake or stop."

Although he has some medical issues, they do not appear to have played any part in the incident, which could have caused him serious injury or even death.

"The insurance company totaled the car, leaving me almost $6,000 left to pay," Father McGrade said. "I have [an insurance] policy but of course they want to go after Toyota. I say fine, go ahead, but please pay my loan off first. It amazes me that I'm left hanging for $6,000 while they fight with Toyota."

Still, he doesn't want to sue.

"It is absolutely amazing. I posted the basics of the incident to the NTSB site and have since been overwhelmed with e-mails from law firms inquiring if I was looking for a firm to represent me. No lawsuit on my end; another case of ambulance-chasers looking for their next cash cow. I do, however, think those who have suffered physical harm or loss due to a failure that was known but not addressed deserve some compensation. All I want is the insurance company to meet its obligation in my situation."

Oh...the insurance company did provide a rental car for Father. The make and model?

A Toyota Camry hybrid.

(Below are police photos and images of documents pertaining to the incident.)













© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

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