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Toyota Acceleration Problems Cause Man’s DUI Charge To Be Downgraded

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Booking photo of Jonathan Grinsted.  (credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

Booking photo of Jonathan Grinsted. (credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) – A Tampa Bay area man previously facing a DUI manslaughter charge will serve just one-year probation after Pinellas County prosecutors agreed that the sudden acceleration in some Toyotas could have caused the crash.

Jonathan Grinsted, 51, pleaded no contest to driving under the influence Thursday.

Authorities say 44-year-old Ashley Boyle was sitting on a curb in a parking lot in July 2010 when Grinsted’s Toyota Land Cruiser went up onto the sidewalk and hit her before crashing into an office.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that tests showed Grinsted’s blood alcohol level was 0.14 percent. State law considers a driver impaired at 0.08.

But a defense attorney argued that the crash would have occurred even if Grinsted had been sober. A master mechanic and an expert for the prosecution discovered problems with the vehicle’s throttle control module.

“If he was stone sober, this would have happened,” the defense attorney told the Times. “He individually as a person did not cause this accident.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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