. . . [A]s we stood in the gathering darkness near the tree the Crown Victoria had barely missed, I was struggling to grasp what could suddenly turn an automobile into an uncontrollable missile. My mind was racing. The 1989 government report had concluded that drivers were pressing the wrong pedal. But why would thousands of drivers in a stopped car suddenly push the gas pedal to the ﬂoor? Why, if they did make such a bizarre mistake, would they keep the pedal depressed until their car crashed into something? It also seemed strange that there was no mention of a driver having admitted pushing the accelerator pedal to the ﬂoor by mistake . . . .
. . . Somewhere over the Rockies, I recalled an Agatha Christie mystery about a murder committed with an icicle, which had long since melted away when the corpse was discovered. Was something that couldn’t be found by looking inside the car causing cars to race out of control? Was sudden acceleration a “perfect tort,” with victims numbering into the thousands? It was an astounding thought, and yet everything I was learning pointed to that possibility . . . .
. . . One lawyer, who asked that I not mention his name, told me about a former FBI agent who had made a specialty of investigating suspected automotive defects for law ﬁrms. He said the guy is so good one company has him on a large annual retainer to keep him from investigating suspected defects in its cars. I arranged to meet him . . . .