Freed Toyota Driver: My Children Don't Know Me

Freed Toyota Driver Koua Fong Lee Says My Children Dont Know Me

In his first interview since winning freedom yesterday, Koua Fong Lee, the Minnesota man jailed after his 1996 Toyota Camry sped out of control and killed three people, said his two youngest children don't know their father because he's been imprisoned for vehicular homicide for the past three years.

"The first thing I'm going to do is talk to them, to get to know them, to play with them," Lee told ABC News. "I want them to know I am their daddy. I will teach them what the word daddy means."

After a judge ordered Lee freed from prison Thursday pending a new trial, prosecutors announced they would not try Lee again. Following a four-day hearing, Judge Joanne Smith ruled there was enough evidence to grant a new trial to Lee, who had been serving an eight-year sentence for criminal vehicular homicide. He was convicted in a 2006 crash in which his Toyota Camry crashed into an Oldsmobile, killing driver Javis Adams, his 10-year-old son and injuring Adams' seven-year-old nice Devyn Bolton, who later died of her injuries.

VIDEO: Koua Fong Lee is released after three years behind bars for vehicular homicide.
Convicted Toyota Driver Freed From Prison

Lee's attorney Bob Hilliard credited an ABC News report from Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross for garnering attention on the case.

"It was the result of the ABC report that brought the people to us that said they want to help us," Hilliard said. Lee's attorneys said dozens of witnesses came forward with similar stories of unintended acceleration problems with their 1996 Toyota Camry's, like what happened in Lee's case.

Before the judge's ruling yesterday, Lee, 32, had rejected a plea deal from prosecutors that would have allowed him to go home a free man, but would still brand him a convicted felon and suspend his driving privileges for 10 years with 15 years of probation.

"He'd rather do the time than to admit to something he knows he didn't do," Hilliard said of Lee. "And he had the courage to say… I'd stay here before I do that."

Driver in Prison for Fatal Runaway Toyota Accident

Lee's wife Panghoua Moua was still elated with her husband's homecoming.

"It means the world to me because I've been without him for three years," Moua Lee said. She added that now, "I feel like my family will become a family again."

The Lee's have four children, ranging in age from two-and-a-half to eight-years-old. Moua Lee was pregnant with their youngest child when Lee was imprisoned.

Lee has insisted he pressed the brakes but that the car would not stop.

The hearing, which began Monday, drew scores of Lee supporters. On Monday, nearly a hundred Lee backers rallied outside the courthouse demanding his immediate release.

Lee's attorneys maintain the accident was caused by unintended acceleration.

"I am confident that we can show Koua's Toyota ran away on him," said Bob Hilliard, one of Lee's attorneys, prior to the beginning of the hearing. "Koua's Toyota would not respond to his braking."

Brent Schafer, also representing Lee, had said new evidence showed that Lee deserved a new trial. "We'll call witnesses who have also experienced throttle control problems in their 1996 Camry."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Sabrina Allen is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
PHOTO: Adam Sandler arrives at the premiere of Men, Women & Children at The Directors Guild of America, Sept. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP Photo
Lovable Panda Triplets Get Named
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
PHOTO: Video recorded Sept. 21, 2014 in Okanogan County, Wash. shows a black bear scratching its back against a tree.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife