The district attorney for Orange County, CA, today files suit against Toyota Motor Corp. for selling vehicles the auto maker knew were prone to accelerate unintentionally.

“We demand to know: Did Toyota, in their relentless pursuit to become the No.1 car maker in the United States, put profits over people?” the Associated Press reports district attorney Tony Rackauckas as saying.

Some $2,500 per violation is sought by Orange County of Toyota under the Unfair Business Practices Act.

The news comes on the same day revelations come to light about a San Diego-area man who went on a wild ride in his Prius March 8.

James Sikes, who drove for miles with an allegedly stuck accelerator pedal on a San Diego freeway, is reported by an automotive blogging site to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and also behind on his payments for his ’08 Prius to Toyota Financial Services.

Sikes reportedly says he is not lying about the acceleration of his Prius, which was finally brought to a stop after a California Highway Patrol officer drove alongside Sikes and gave him instructions via a loudspeaker.

The day after Sikes’ incident, a New York woman was injured after she drove her Prius into a wall. She alleges unintended acceleration occurred.

Toyota is investigating both incidents.

Meanwhile, a South Carolina couple traveling in an ’09 Camry were killed Thursday when their car went off the highway. The accident occurred near Santee, SC.

South Carolina Highway Patrol information officer Lance Corporal Judd Jones tells Ward’s roads were wet at the time of the accident, with a light mist present. The middle-aged husband and wife were pronounced dead at the scene.

South Carolina authorities are investigating the incident. Jones cannot confirm local media reports the Camry was not recalled by Toyota.

While many ’09 Camrys are part of Toyota’s recall for sticking accelerators, certain models, such as those made in Japan, are not included.

The media attention surrounding Toyota doesn’t seem to be hurting the auto maker’s March sales, with the company reporting yesterday it is seeing an uptick in buyers, which it credits to its generous incentives, such as 0% financing for 60 months.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com