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 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. apple

    Thank God she was able to call 911 and get assistance. Most people will panic in her situation, of course everyone first would try to stop the car turning off, which she did.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • c

      NO!!! Put the car in neutral. Prius, and other "push button" start cars will not turn off while in drive unless you hold the down the button for several seconds. People have the wrong impression of what will happen to the engine if the car is shifted into neutral. All modern cars will rev, then stabilize. They will not 'blow up'. Please go to your car right now and practice shifting in and out of neutral.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. harry_merkin

    You all are idiots,,, have any of you citizens ever drove 120 mph on a crowded highway? abd the gas peddle is stuck?? It is no wonder she panic'd, I drove 124 mph on a empty 2 lane, ( Impapa SS 1996) and the tele-poles were flying by. it was "exciting" (<–understatement) and i'll never do that again. My hat is off to her being able to hold the car on the road.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Politico

      I had one of those Impapa's. What a piece of junk.

      September 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      She didn't have to drive that fast. She needs to be educated on how 'neutral' works.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lin

    lauri was agood driver but turn off key put gear shifter in neutral press brake one will slow you down

    September 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      Yes!!! How do people not know this?

      September 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. txm

    Chances are this is a hoax. Someone driving 120 mph who is inexperienced would have crashed the car, while calling 911

    September 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Schapkj

    Wow, Kia that will do 120. That is news,

    September 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Crashtek

    "She was finally able to stop her car by simultaneously lifting up the accelerator and pushing the brake." Seriously? That's how I usually stop. You can't fix stupid.

    September 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. arthurb3

    Why didn't she just turn off the ignition? Turn on the emergency brake.

    September 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      Because that is wrong. Shift to neutral first. Please remember this.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Uranus

    Hmm...Why not just turn the cruise control OFF!?!?!

    September 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • c think she set the cruise for 120?? ~facepalm~ Please re-read the article.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lagos

    "She was finally able to stop her car by simultaneously lifting up the accelerator and pushing the brake"

    Remember all those stories about "Stuck accelerators" that cost Toyota untold millions of dollars that later turned out to be the result of people that had their foot on the wrong pedal? But of course, mentioning that doesn't make the article as dramatic and doesn't send car owners into a panic. Wonderful journalism guys, keep it up!

    September 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scopedope

    Turn off the ignition?

    September 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      ...and lock the steering column. Fun at 120mph.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark T?

    Wouldn't this simply have been a darwin situation? Shouldn't every driver know the basics of a drive train and how to disable it?

    September 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PapaBear

    I wonder if not having the keys with her locked her out of controlling the car – firmware glitch! That still does not support ot being able to mechanically disconnecting the transmission – (shifting into neutral).

    September 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. c

    If you can't find neutral in 30-35 minutes, you have no right to drive UNTIL YOU GO BACK TO DRIVING SCHOOL. Why didn't the dispatcher tell her that before she put people, and herself, in danger?

    September 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      You ever see what happens when you put a car in neutral with the engine running at full throttle? BOOM!

      September 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandfkiwsa

      Dan, did you ever see what happens when you are driving 120 and DON'T put the car in neutral or turn off the ignition? I am pretty confident it is usually similar to "BOOM." This lady's survival is pure luck.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    Was this one of Google's new autonomous cars?

    September 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mandfkiwsa

    Put the car in neutral. Or turn off the ignition. For heaven's sake.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
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