August 28th, 2012
10:36 AM ET

With accelerator jammed at 120 mph, woman fears imminent death

A police dashcam video shows a dark SUV flying past cars and blowing through construction.

The driver's 911 call tells the rest of the story:  Lauri Ulvestad, utterly terrified, frantically steering a 2011 Kia Sorrento with a jammed accelerator taking it to speeds up to 120 mph.

“I told the dispatcher to tell my family I loved them,” Ulvestad, 47, told CNN.com by phone. “I did not think I was going to make it.”

Ulvestad credits dispatcher Kelly Brieg with keeping her calm and ultimately saving her life.

The Ames, Iowa, resident’s wild ride through Missouri and her home state of Iowa on Interstate 35 lasted about 30 minutes, Ulvestad told CNN affiliate KCCI. She was finally able to stop her car by simultaneously lifting up the accelerator and pushing the brake. She was not injured.

Irvine, California-based Kia Motors America Inc., issued the following statement to CNN:

"Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident. KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner."

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Automobiles
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. PaulC

    In a panic situation like that i don't suppose she thought to shift to neutral or turn off the ignition (being care not to lock the steering wheel).

    August 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Yes sir.. we have become a Nation of idiots!!! Your suppose to KNOW how to drive, people these days are stupid!!! Just get in a go and have no clue as to what to do in situations like this. So in order to "save" people from themselves the government steps in and mandates Air bags, anti-lock brakes, backup cameras, etc.. the list goes on and on. You can't fix stupid and most of America these days fits into that catagory sorry to say. I taught both my kids to drive and simulated most things that could happen, both are great drivers and do not panic in situations.

      August 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      I think it said she tried to put the car in neutral and it wouldn't let her. Some cars lock in drive once moving it's a safety thing to keep the gear shift from being accidently moved out of gear. I would think the push button type would work the same way. I guess the design engineers never thought of this happening huh.

      August 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coke vs Pepsi

      LOL.. turn off the ignition.. that's classic. Why don't you chinese who've never driven a car and don't know what one is.. what you have those hand pulled carts don't konw what they are called. Why don't you comment on something about how to make dumplings because you're dumb as a brick.

      September 1, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Al Bundy

    Put it in neutral you idiot!

    August 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Learn how to read and you might learn something!

      September 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Seriously

    Guys, if you bothered to watch the video, you would have seen that they tried everything you suggested... Neutral, it was push-button ignition). Some people are so stupid.

    August 31, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • OldGoat58

      Push button or not, if she pushed the button with the car in neutral the engine would have stopped.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Neutral is a manual process by moving the shift lever into that postion, nothing electronic controls neutral. Had she put it into neutral the rev limiter would have cut the engine off, plain and simple this woman had the thought process to dial 911 but not to be able to kill the engine. Bet you they find out the floor mat was stuck under the pedal...hahaha..

      August 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OldGoat58

    Ummm........She didn't think to put the car in neutral and turn off the key? Stupid people should NOT be given drivers licenses!

    August 31, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. DaveYoung

    Put the car in neutral, slam on the anti lock brakes, and then turn off the key after steering quickly onto the shoulder.....duh.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. laura

    this woman is a total idiot. I suppose she knows that if she started the car she can simply turn the key off one click.
    This is a case of operator malfunction. One thing puzzle me is she was calm enough to make a phone call but not
    smart enough to turn off key. Why did not the dispatcher tell the idiot to turn off the motor. The car would immediately
    slow down and the break will still work a couple time even though the engine is off.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. holliemb

    You shouldn't have to have all the special skills and knowledge of a backyard mechanic to survive a ride in your own car. If they didn't test you on it at the DMV, it's fair to assume that you know what you would likely need to know. Why is it that its never to company's fault? If a sixteen year old got killed this way, would we call her an idiot? Maybe the stupid ones are the ones who don't mandate that skill on the driver's test....if it's so damned reasonable to expect people to know that.

    August 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncommon Sense

      Tell me you are joking, right? You need to be a "backyard mechanic" to know how to move the gear selector from D to N? How in the world did she get the car going in the first place? And if you really think that the written OR driving test at the DMV is that comprehensive to include all possible driving situations you might encounter, you are totally nuts. The driving test these days is an absolute joke; i'm pretty certain a mentally challenged chimp could pass one any time, any day, anywhere. Where do you live? I am staying far far away from wherever you may be driving.....

      September 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gary S.

    PaulC and Dave bingo!! you both hit the nail on the head.
    Why turning off the ignition or shifting out of drive didn't occur to her I can't explain either.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BoundGodsFan

    Can you see what's happening? Car companies are getting people ready for flying cars. Slowly but surely, they're implementing automation to get us there. This was just a isolated test to see how fast cars can get down the run way for take off.

    August 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sean

    Have you boys watched the video? She couldn't put it in neutral, the brakes did not work, she had the emergency brake engaged, pushing the ignition button would not turn off the car; the only solution was to reach down and pull up the accelerator while simultaneously pushing on the brake. I think those who posted the flippant, irreverent and callous remarks here are the type of frightened and lazy humans that need to distance themselves from the possibility of any seriously frightening event happening to them by belittling those who have persevered; in other words, it only happened to her because she didn't think of the simple maneuver they would have known to employ; that would never happen to them: Cowardice.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AutoTech

    To Kay-
    No car locks out neutral. You can always put a car into neutral at any time. Some shifters require you to push a button to go into low gears or reverse, but not neatral. Cars always have, and always will allow you to shift into neutral at any speed.
    Also, push button cars will turn off if you hold the push button down for a few seconds. But that info is in the ownwer's manual and who bothers to read that.
    Driving is taken too lightly. People dont pay attention and don't take the time to learn about the cars they own.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncommon Sense

      Thank you for your reply. I take it no one has actually tried to shift out of drive while they are moving? It works, people. You can always hit neutral with any make, any model of car. Just bump the shifter and give it a shot, you dont even need to push a button or anything....

      September 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. desert voice/troubledgoodangel

    I really can't believe what these people and these "technicians" are saying. 99% of cases in which the acellerator gets stuck, it is due to the fact that the shaft of the pedal gets immobilized by the salty corrosion that is created between itself and the aluminum structure where in moves, compounded of course by unfrequent greasing. In my experience, my accellerator, breaks, and the clatch pedals constantly get stuck in trafic. What do I do then? I bent down, grab the corresponding pedal, and pull it up! This unstucks the pedal. Do I advise others to be as poor as myself that they are unable to pay for the greasing? No I wish we all were milionaires! But in order to save lives, whenever any of your padals stucks, just pull it up, and then by all means brake in a controlled manner, stop the car in a safe way, call the mechanic, and get a loan to pay him! Don't risk other people's lives!

    September 3, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mary Jane

    I'm always amazed at how stupid people are when something like this happens...There's 2 simple things you can do to solve this problem...1 is to turn the key back 1 position to shut off the motor. You won't lock the steering you'll simply kill the engine and you can pull to the side of the road and stop...The second is to simply move the shifter to neutral and this will allow you to stop while the motor races uncontrollably....It's that simple people theres no need to call 911 and drive wildly down the roadway so you can end up doing the talk show circuit telling people how dumb you are

    September 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I'm always amazed at the ignorance of people who don't read. The push button ignition wouldn't do anything when she pushed it.

      September 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul G

    TURN OFF THE IGNITION!!! And coast to the shoulder.
    Its not rocket science. If you don't know how to handle a situation like this, you shouldn't be behind the wheel!!
    She didn't have enough brains to handle this situation, but she was able to use her cell phone while all this was happening!!

    September 3, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. browen

    Did anyone WATCH the video and LISTEN? She tried to brake and had the emergency brake on. She also tried to shift into neutral. None of this worked. And there was NO key it was a push button ignition according to the driver.

    September 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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