Suburban teen’s Toyota RAV4 burst into flames on expressway 2 weeks before recall issued

Toyota RAV4 Fire ABC7 Chicago 03.05.2024

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

The advocacy group The Center for Auto Safety said laws put the responsibility on consumers to do their own research on advisories and recalls before buying used.

By Jason Knowles, Ann Pistone, and Maggie Green
March 4, 2024

A suburban teenager narrowly escaped his Toyota SUV after it burst into flames on the expressway. His family said they didn’t know about an advisory for a potential fire risk before buying the car.

Tyler Kustuch, 18, of Deerfield was driving to a volleyball tournament on the Stevenson near Midway in October when his car caught fire, starting in the front.

Kustuch got out just in time, but his car was destroyed and he lost $1,500 worth of volleyball equipment.

After escaping the car, he video called his mom.

“I’m like, ‘Mom my car just broke down.’ I was like ‘My car’s on fire,'” he said.

“He’s an 18-year-old athletic kid, I’m screaming on the phone on Facetime to get out, get out, he doesn’t even have time to grab his bag,” said his mother Kelly Kustusch.

The family purchased the used 2013 Toyota RAV4 just five days before it caught fire. Two weeks after the fire, Toyota issued a recall for fire risks involving the installation of replacement batteries.

Click here to view the full story from ABC7 Chicago, WLS-TV.