Yesterday afternoon, Monday, March 8, Toyota said it learned of a report that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit was dispatched in response to a 911 call from a motorist driving a 2008 Toyota Prius on Interstate 8 in San Diego County.
The Prius driver, James Sikes, 61, called 911 about 1:30 p.m. after accelerating to pass another vehicle on Interstate 8 near La Posta and finding that he could not control his car, the CHP said.
The incident raises questions anew about whether Toyota has the proper fix to cover sticking accelerator pedal or unintended acceleration problems.
A third failure mode, an electronic software issue, has been dismissed out of hand by Toyota as “not possible,” even though complaints continue. This Prius was subject to the floor mat entrapment recall of last fall.
“I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny… it jumped and it just stuck there,” Sikes said at a news conference. “As it was going, I was trying the brakes…it wasn’t stopping, it wasn’t doing anything and it just kept speeding up,” Sikes said, adding 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.”
CHP said the Prius reached speeds of more than 90 mph before it was brought under control.
CHP could not explain why the driver waited so long to turn off the ignition, which he ultimately did after about 20 minutes. That’s when the car coasted to a stop. (more…)