March 9th, 2010
07:24 AM ET

Driver: My Prius took me for a ride

The driver of a Toyota Prius says he was taken on a wild ride Monday after the car's accelerator became stuck, reaching speeds in excess of 90 mph on a winding, hilly portion of a southern California interstate.

It took the California Highway Patrol to bring the car safely to a stop.

The driver, Jim Sikes, said he was traveling east on Interstate 8 outside of the San Diego area when he attempted to pass a slower vehicle.

"I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car, and it just did something kind of funny ... and it just stuck there," he said at a news conference outside a Highway Patrol office. "As I was going, I was trying the brakes ... and it just kept speeding up."

Sikes said he called 911 for help, and dispatchers talked him through instructions on how he might be able to stop the car. But nothing worked.

At one point, Sikes said he reached down to try to pull the accelerator up, but it "stayed right where it was."

Alerted by emergency dispatchers, a California Highway Patrol officer was able to catch up to Sikes' Prius and used the patrol car's public address system to instruct Sikes to apply the brakes and the emergency brake at the same time.

The tactic worked, and the car slowed to about 50 mph. Sikes said he was able to shut off the car, and it rolled to a stop. The responding officer, Todd Neibert, positioned his patrol car in front of the Prius as a precaution to prevent it from moving again.

Toyota recently issued widespread recalls due to problems related to the accelerator pedal in several of its auto models. One theory behind the sticky accelerators is the vehicles' floor mats.

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Filed under: Toyota
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. John

    I do not think Toyota Prius has problem with accelation. This is only way people now try making $$$ to blame on.

    Remember Ford Pinto? so what?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pat

    hahahha...way to not get a speeding ticket

    March 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brandi

    What about putting it in neutral?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jorge

    What was the problem with putting the car in neutral and using the brakes?

    March 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zak

    Are you telling me he couldn't put the car in neutral?

    March 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Didn't anyone think of just "slipping it into neutral" then pulling over and turning off the car. Honestly...

    March 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rt

    If the gas pedal stuck ..... turn off the ignition.
    If that doesn't work put the car in neutral and sacrifie the engine should the engine not have a rev limiter.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Lillie

    To heck with using the brakes, those are not that trong in the prius.
    How about shifting just the car into neutral?

    March 10, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. BoT

    These people should not be on the road in any vehicle. This is now the third person I read about (there are probably others) who can dial up 911 and talk on the cell phone at 60+ mph but does not have horse sense to shift the car in neutral,

    March 10, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    Has anyone asked how we was able to dial the phone to call 911 ... and the police [ that means taking your eyes off the road, fiddle around to get/find his phone, taking at least one hand off the wheel to manipulating a small electronic device and then finding/pressing the correct tiny little buttons ....
    or if he has a Bluetooth device.. poking the dashboard console with his fingers to find and navigate through the various screens ] ...

    …yet told the dispatcher he could not put the car in neutral [ that's one large lever immediately to the right of the steering wheel that anyone could engage with one finger and without taking their eyes off the road … and he would be very familiar with its function because he uses this same lever every time he puts the car in “drive” ] because he was too busy controlling the car?

    If you believe this guy - then you probably believed that a flimsy Mylar balloon could carry a 37 pound 6-year-old boy high over the plains of Colorado.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joe

    Let me get this straight. He could not use his brakes to stop ,shift to neutral and or cut off the ignition. Give me a break please. This guy's story has as many holes as swiss cheese.

    March 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    I'm with the previous comment that said remember the ford Pinto?? I quit buying American in the 70's when I had friends driving around in their parents toyota with 175,00 miles on it and If you had an american car you had to get rid of it before it had 80.000 miles on it

    March 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |