TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - You're looking at damage that Ron Pepe says was caused by his Subaru. "This is a real mess. This is a real mess here. Thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of s*% destroyed."
Ron's wife Theresa Rawls was behind the wheel of their 2019 Subaru Outback, pretty similar to one we found on the Internet. Theresa, who frequently drives the car, says for unexplained reasons, the vehicle lurched forward on its own, crashing into their garage.
“I was sitting in my car with an idling with my foot firmly on the brake, I always hit the garage door opener, it's a big steel building and I wait for the garage door to fully open. And when the garage door was just a third of the way up, before I knew what was happening, it literally shot forward."
Theresa says the unexplained incident happened in the blink of an eye. "This all literally happened, it was less than two seconds. I did not know what was happening."
Harper then said, "Wow, that two seconds I bet was like a lifetime because you're trying to figure out what's going on."
Theresa responded saying, "It was a nightmare and I recognized that I was hitting everything all my husband's equipment for welding. I was hitting all these things, and nothing was stopping. Yes, and it was terrifying."
So, 3 On Your Side looked into the issue and discovered numerous published reports of consumers who claim their Subaru suddenly accelerated for no reason, just like Ron and Theresa say their car did.
In fact, a couple of class action lawsuits have been filed against Subaru claiming... "defects that cause sudden and unintended acceleration" and say, "Hundreds of consumers have lodged complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and on consumer websites complaining of SUA events affecting their vehicles."
"Subaru. In my personal opinion, Subaru missed a golden opportunity here. They could have gotten up in front of this years ago when these issues started happening."
3 On Your Side contacted Subaru about Theresa's situation and in response, they said:
We are aware of the incident involving Ms. Rawls and her Subaru at her home… Ms. Rawls’ vehicle was thoroughly and methodically inspected by trained Subaru technicians who did not find any defects in the vehicle that could have caused the incident she describes.
We are not aware of a single confirmed case of unintended acceleration in a Subaru vehicle, ever.
But Ron and Theresa say they don't agree, claiming they're living witnesses and they're hoping something is done soon. "This is not about the money. This is about the fact that something's not being recognized, that is occurring to people."
The couple claims Subaru told them operator error, or their floor mats caused the crash.
These 3 On Your Side viewers say they're little afraid to keep driving their car because they don't want it to happen again. But they're glad no one was injured.
Statement below from Subaru:
We are aware of the incident involving Ms. Rawls and her Subaru at her home, and our local retailer has been working directly with her. Ms. Rawls’ vehicle was thoroughly and methodically inspected by trained Subaru technicians who did not find any defects in the vehicle that could have caused the incident she describes. We are not aware of a single confirmed case of unintended acceleration in a Subaru vehicle, ever.”
— Dominick Infante, Director, Corporate Communications, Subaru of America, Inc.