Woman driving Toyota killed in Southlake wreck

SOUTHLAKE -- A Toyota was involved in a crash early Sunday that killed a Southlake woman as she drove home from work, police said.

But police said they had not determined whether the wreck was caused by the 77-year-old driver or mechanical problems with the 2004 Corolla.

"It's way too early to know what happened," said Southlake officer Roderick Page, a police spokesman.

The Corolla was not on the list of vehicle recalls announced by Toyota a few weeks ago related to problems with accelerator pedals.

The recall included 2009-10 Corollas.

In the last fatal wreck in Southlake, four people died Dec. 26 when their 2008 Toyota Avalon crashed into a pond.

That car was on the list, among the 8.5 million late-model vehicles recalled by Toyota to fix floor mat and gas pedal problems the company said could potentially cause unintended acceleration.

On Sunday, the Tarrant County medical examiner's office identified the victim as Waynoka Ricord. She died early Sunday at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine shortly after the wreck.

The wreck happened shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the 1800 block of Shady Oaks Drive, as Ricord drove home from her job at a Dallas/Fort Worth Airport hotel, police said.

Ricord was northbound when her car veered off the road and hit a tree, bounced off and hit a second tree, Page said.

A resident in the neighborhood heard the wreck and called police.

"We don't know if she fell asleep or if it was mechanical," Page said. "Something happened to make her lose control."

Ricord died of blunt-force trauma to her chest, the medical examiner's office reported on its Web site. Her death was ruled an accident.

A woman who answered a telephone for Ricord declined to comment Sunday.

In the December crash involving the Toyota Avalon, Southlake police were unable to determine whether a stuck accelerator was to blame.

Killed in the wreck were the driver, Monty Hardy, 56, of Southlake and his three passengers, Sharon Ransom, 56, of Grapevine, Hadassah Vance, 35, of Euless and Wendy Akin, 38, of Irving.

The four were members of a Jehovah's Witness congregation and were calling on residents in the area

Hardy was driving the Avalon north on Lonesome Dove Road when the car failed to stop at an intersection, according to police reports.

The car, traveling at 47 mph, went down an embankment and through a metal fence, struck a tree and went airborne, landing upside down in a 6-foot-deep pond.

The police reports said there were no signs that Hardy attempted to brake.

One witness, a driver in an oncoming car, reported that she could not see the driver.

Linda Hardy, Monty Hardy's wife, told police that the Avalon had had acceleration problems. She also told police that her husband had seizures, for which he was taking medication.

Ransom's family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, and several other families in the state have also sued after fatal wrecks involving Toyotas.

DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR., 817-390-7763