Toyota 1996 Avalon acceleration problem repair linked to Cruise Control?

My mother has a 1996 Toyota Avalon, with only 75,000 miles on it & in very good condition except for the following incident. She had a very scary acceleration incident last month. She was driving on a local road coming home, when the car started to accelerate. The brake was of no use when she depressed it all the way. Thank god, luckily she was able to turn into the long uphill driveway of her apartment complex and steer towards an empty area in the parking lot. She put the car in neutral and continued to try to brake, but it continued to cruise along with a mind of its own. Finally she was able to “stop” by aiming for the curb at an empty series of parking spaces, and her car went up onto the curb and hit a lamppost and tree, and finally stopped.

Afterwards, the police turned the car on & it immediately revved to over 5000 RPM w/o any touch to the gas pedal. The roadside rescue mechanic tried it out as well, and found the accelerator pedal stuck down. They freed the pedal, gave it some gas, and it stuck again. The brake also stuck on the floor when they pressed it.

My mother had the car body repaired, but the mechanics could find nothing wrong w/ the pedal and said it wasn’t the usual greasy pedal thing that’s been subject to recall, nor floor mats. She took it to a Toyota dealer, they poked around a long time and finally said it was a problem w/ the cruise control. Now, I know nothing about cars, but I see from their huge $2,700 bill that they replaced the accelerator link assembly, accelerator link / cruise actuator, accelerator cable assembly, speed actuator assembly, and some less expensive parts. I think it’s unconscionable, but not surprising, that Toyota would not pay for these repairs. They should be grateful that no one was hurt in this case.

My question is, were these repairs valid? Why and how on earth could cruise control hijack the control of the accelerator, disabling the brake? She did not have cruise control turned on, and in fact never uses it. Normally applying the brake would cancel cruise control. Has she been completely ripped off by the Toyota dealer who was just trying to make a buck and get her off their back? Should I be terrified for her that this could happen again?

How old is your mom?

The bakes on any car, ANY CAR, can stop the vehicle, even under wide-open-throttle conditions. It’s been proven many times. See Car & Driver magazine. They tried it with several vehicles.

Your mother claims “the brake was of no use.”

Seriously, do you believe that? Sorry, but I don’t.

Transmission in neutral, yet the vehicle still drives “with a mind of its own?” Yeah, sure.

No offense, but mom isn’t telling you the whole story.

Maybe it’s time for mom to stop driving.

Think about it.