San Diego, CA – Runaway Toyota Prius Corralled by Cops

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     A California Highway Patrol officer helped slow a runaway Toyota Prius from 94 mph to a safe stop on Monday after the car’s accelerator became stuck on a San Diego County freewaySan Diego, CA – A California Highway Patrol officer helped slow a runaway Toyota Prius from 94 mph to a safe stop on Monday after the car’s accelerator became stuck on a San Diego County freeway, the CHP said.

    Prius driver James Sikes called 911 about 1:30 p.m. after accelerating to pass another vehicle on Interstate 80 near La Posta and finding that he could not control his car, the CHP said.

    “I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny … it jumped and it just stuck there,” the 61-year-old driver said at a news conference. Sikes said he could smell the brakes burning he was pressing the pedal so hard.

    A patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and officers told Sikes over a loudspeaker to push the brake pedal to the floor and apply the emergency brake.

    “They also got it going on a steep upgrade,” said Officer Jesse Udovich. “Between those three things, they got it to slow down.”

    After the car decelerated to about 50 mph, Sikes turned off the engine and coasted to a halt.

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    40 COMMENTS

    1. He could have just switched off the engine , or shift into neutral.
      Or apply brakes. Tests have shown that brakes could stop a 500 horsepower car with the engine at full throttle , (there will be smoke comin out of the brakes ,)

      • I would not advise that because the force can send you out the window. if your not an expert don’t give crazy advice. the last thing we need is for vin to be sued because some commentator that is 16 years old was giving car advice that killed someone

        Try Neutral and if you have to hit a car from behind in a straight line it is also better than shutting off the engine at 90 MPH.

      • I also read that Car and Driver Article.
        But keep in mind that, That 500HP car has 9inch Ceramic cross Drilled Breombo Brakes. And it takes 4 times a s long to get it to Halt. Which a very Scary few Seconds.

        • Holding down the Power start button for 3 seconds will shut down the car. But its only advisable if toy are Desperate and ONLY on a straight road For you will loose power steering. And braking will still bring you to a stop albeit a long one.
          The Shifter in the Prius as well as newer BMWs are Electrical not Mechanical so it may not be able to shift to N if the OBD (car brain) is messed up
          Hasem yishmore ulienu

      • switching off the engine when coasting at 94mph is a death wish… shutting the engine disables power steering, not to mention the fact that the steering wheel will lock.

      • switching off the engine when coasting at 94mph is a death wish… shutting the engine disables power steering, not to mention the fact that the steering wheel will lock.

      • People quoting the Car and Driver test (brakes can stop a 500 hp car etc.) should be aware that this is true for the brakes as long as they maintain their power boost which is lost if you cycle the brakes at low engine vacuum. Intake manifold vacuum boosts the brake pedal pushing power of your foot in most cars, (not sure about the Prius), but of course this vacuum is lost if the engine dies and is very low at wide open throttle.

      • Great idea buddy, bud if you happened to watch I believe supreme court testimony of another woman who owned a lexus that lost control, the first thing she did was to try to put the car into neutral, and it did nothing, in fact I think it actually accelerated more

    2. On the prius its a lot harder to shift the car while in motion because it doesn’t have a regular PRNDL shifter like most cars. It is completely electronic just like the ignition is a start button. If you move the shifter you feel any clicks like you are used to feeling in a regular car. They build in safety programing for accidental touching of the shifter just like the start button requires a 3 second hold before the car will shut off.
      Just a lesson on how electronics DO NOT necessarily make things better

    3. A friend of mine with a Prius just double checked… yes, turning the engine “off” requires that STUPID “hold the button in for three seconds”. but he _was_ able to move the “shifter” into neutral while driving at 70 mph, and the engine disengaged from the transmission with no problem. The engine cheerfully revved up as much as he wanted.. but it wasn’t pushing the car and he was able to glide to a halt with no problem whatsoever.

      (“shifter” in quotes because it handles quite a bit differently than the customary stick handles we’ve been using for decades).

    4. All you brainiacs think you would have been smarter and done better. Don’t you think he tried everything he could to stop the vehicle? The point is it was out of control.

    5. Can’t you guys be nuetral? A man almost died and everyone only has bright ideas for what he should’ve done. I wonder why no one asked why he didn’t put the car in reverse.

    6. This is a scam! There are no problems with Toyotas!

      The Federal Government now owns General Motors and Chrysler and it is manufacturing the demise of Toyota’s market dominance.

    7. 1. There is a failsafe in all cars that does not allow gear shifting at speed with automatic transmissions.
      2. There is also a failsafe that does not allow engine cut off at speed
      3. A Prius has a top speed of about 45 mph.
      4. The brake/accelerator override does not function.
      5. The cause of this problem is faulty cruise control switches. There is a problem with the wiring harness contacts being too small.

      • You are an ignoramus. Your points 1 and 2 are both false. As an owner of a Prius, I can vouch the point 3 is nonsense, too. Point 5 is pure stupidity, and point 4 is about a feature that does not exist.

    8. Does anyone know if all these new problem that are cropping up in Toyotas is a problem in Europe or elsewhere or is it an exclusive American Toyota issue? Why did all Toyota issues only come up since the US government became the owners of a competitive carmaker? It seems odd that for more than a decade there were no problems and suddenly there is a new story every day. The media just came out that 34 accidents in the history of Toyota are to blame for these issues and suddenly there are a steady flow of stories. Is it one big conspiracy? I was just wondering??

    9. The Cop did a great job and so did the driver. All the people who think they would have done better are making assumptions…… and probably do not have a clue about what they are talking about.

    10. A friend of mine driving a camery got pulled over for speeding . he told the cop these toyatas they just keep on acclerating couldnt slow it down . the cop reduced the ticket for the good line

    11. Bh they made the prius small enough that its not a ideal car for the heimishe oilem, I do not see many of it on the Boro Park streets, I just see one all the time which appears to belong to a Hatsoloh Paramedic…hope he gets a new one…we need our incredible hatsolo members to arrive to scenes safely

    12. Most of you guys drive 19 seat mini vans not Toyota prius which does not have traditional manual shifter or brakes, EVERYTHING IS electronic and controlled by wires and a computer chip with overrides that prevent shifting while at cruise speeds. Don’t Monday morning quarter back the driver because non of you would have done anything better to control the situation.

      Toyota needs to hire every known electrical and mechanical engineer on the planet to save their company. Toyota’s engineering department needs to go back to college if they can’t figure out what the hell is wrong with their designs after all this time.

    13. Something is weird here! No mention from the News interviews, the police etc. regarding shifting to NEUTRAL! Are all these people morons? This guy was going through this for 20 minutes, he was calling 911, he had cops telling him to turn off the car (loose power steering) he tried the emergency brake. JUST SHIFT NEUTRAL!!
      Takes one second and end of issue! What am I missing?????

    14. this info from toyota
      Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
      If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost

      check out this
      http://www.toyota.com/recall/pedal.html

    15. I cannot believe this particular runaway was such a problem. I can see sudden acceleration being a problem is a case like they had in New York recently where leaving the driveway you suddenly accelerate. But on the highway. Come ON. You put the car in neutral, apply the brakes, and pull over. What is even more amazing is that it sounds like the CHP did not tell him to shift in to neutral. There was part of the 911 tape that asks about shifting to neutral but the driver’s response was cut off.

    16. Some of the comments on this thread remind me about the Marisa Tomeii role in “My Cousin Vinny”.(1992). In that movie, the lawyer’s girlfriend takes the stand in a case involving a murder that takes place down south and her expert testimony about car tires gets 2 defendants off the hook. The lawyer was played by Joe Pesci.

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