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vonVeezelsnider

Jalopnik: Out-of-Control Toyota Prius Stopped By California Patrol Car

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Just read this and it literally blew me away. The similarities between this incident and the Lexus ES incident in San Diego are pretty alarming.

An out-of-control Toyota Prius was brought to a halt today in San Diego by a California Highway Patrol car putting itself in front of it like a brake. According to the CHP, the car suffered from a stuck accelerator.

500x_toyota_prius_runaway.jpg

The driver of the runaway Toyota Prius, 61-year-old James Sikes called CHP while driving eastbound on Interstate 8 near San Diego around 1:30 PM PST, complaing about a stuck accelerator and being unable to shift the car into neutral. California Highway Patrol responded, putting a patrol car in front of the Prius, eventually stopping the car near La Posta Bridge. This high-profile incident comes on the same day Toyota made a similarly high-profile defense of its cars.

In response, Toyota has dispatched a technical specialist to investigate the problem.

UPDATE The CHP has released this statement:

On March 8, 2010, at approximately 1:30 PM Mr. James Sikes (61) was traveling eastbound on I-8 from Lake Jennings Park Rd. in a Blue Toyota Prius. As he attempted to accelerate past a slower moving vehicle, he noticed that the vehicle seemed be accelerating on its own. He immediately attempted to slow his vehicle unsuccessfully. Reaching speeds of over 90 mph he called 911. The California Highway Patrol immediately went through a series of actions with negative results.

CHP Officers immediately responded to the area were able to locate the vehicle eastbound I-8 east of Kitchen Creek Rd. A CHP Officer was able to pull along side and instruct Mr. Sikes via the PA system. With the Officers assistance, he was able to slow the Prius to approximately 50 m.p.h. The Officer then placed his patrol vehicle in front of the Prius as it came to a stop in the number #1 lane of e/b I-8. The Officer then placed the patrol vehicle against the front bumper of Prius.

The vehicles did not touch until after they came to a stop.

Seems pretty damning to me... And eerily similar to the Lexus incident. I was talking about this with my dad in the early days of the recall and he (retired police) always suspected there was more to this than the pedals because anyone with the level of training he had to go through to serve on a police force would have been able to survive that ES350 accident mainly because they apparently show you in training at least five different ways to make an out of control car stop. His guess was that the car was at the mercy of the electronics and probably couldn't have been shifted into neutral or turned off, and low and behold almost the same thing happened here, mercifully with more acceptable results.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Link?

Here's the article Jalopnik referred to. The guy did not try to shift into neutral, nor did he try to turn off the car on his own. CHP instructed him how to do so, and it worked.

Still, though, enough is enough. I want those cars off my roads until this is taken care of. There are so many Toyotas out there on my freeways, and if my 2001 Aurora gets hit or totaled by a f@#king Toyota out of control, I'm gonna lose it.

Edited by Croc
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Here's the article Jalopnik referred to. The guy did not try to shift into neutral, nor did he try to turn off the car on his own. CHP instructed him how to do so, and it worked.

Still, though, enough is enough. I want those cars off my roads until this is taken care of. There are so many Toyotas out there on my freeways, and if my 2001 Aurora gets hit or totaled by a f@#king Toyota out of control, I'm gonna lose it.

Since I posted this both articles were updated with more info but the original article stated that he was screaming into the phone about not being able to put it in neutral.

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Mind blowing. Lucky for the man he was able to stop, and Toyota's about to get a huge $h!storm for this, and the Prius is not under the acceleration recalls is it?

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from Leftlanenews.com...

Additionally the Prius is not under the pedal recall.

The California Highway Patrol has confirmed officers were forced to box-in a runaway Toyota Prius displaying unintended acceleration Monday afternoon. The incident took place around 2:00 p.m., a police spokesman told Leftlane.

Police involvement in the near-catastrophe began when a driver reported to the CHP that his blue Toyota Prius was accelerating uncontrollably and he was unable to turn off the vehicle or shift into neutral. The driver reportedly traveled at speeds around 90 miles per hour while covering approximately 30 miles.

At 2:03 p.m., PST, CHP reported a blue Toyota Prius traveling east-bound on the 8 freeway in San Diego while passing Los Coches road. The driver continued at full-throttle for approximately 30 miles up into the mountains leading out to El Centro, and away from the city’s center. This incident began roughly 5 miles from the tragic accident involving a Lexus ES350 with a stuck accelerator that claimed the lives of CHP officer Mark Saylor and three of his family members late last year.

San Diego local news station CW 6 reported that radio traffic acknowledged the driver was unable to turn the engine off or shift the vehicle into neutral. CHP reportedly considered utilizing a spike strip in order to stop the vehicle, but decided not to in the event that it could cause the driver to further lose control of the vehicle due to the high rate of speed.

Leftlane spoke with CHP officer Brian Pennings who confirmed the report.CHP officers were able to bring the vehicle to a stop by using a Crown Victoria patrol car to pull in front of the Prius and brake to a stop – bringing both vehicles to a halt. No one was injured, and Toyota says it has already dispatched investigators to examine the vehicle.

http://www.leftlanenews.com/toyota-prius-unintended-acceleration-san-diego.html

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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So he couldn't shift it into neutral. This is critical, as it may explain why the that Lexus was able to stop.

IIRC that Prius is under the floor mat recall, so I want to know what was going on with his floor mats. If they were not present or not in the way, this will blow the sudden acceleration cases wide open.

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i was just reading the local paper on line the story about toyota and of course the user comments. what is really SCARY is the absolute allegiance so many people still have to this lying company.

the same ones saying that toyota is an American company!

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i was just reading the local paper on line the story about toyota and of course the user comments. what is really SCARY is the absolute allegiance so many people still have to this lying company.

the same ones saying that toyota is an American company!

That's happening in a big way up in Canuckistan too.. the media up here seems to want to tie this to other manufacturers. The News/Talk station's lead story this AM was about how some lady in the city broke the gas pedal off her Dodge Journey and how the pedal was made out of plastic. Never mind that almost every car has a plastic gas pedal these days, but how to you stress fracture something that is hinged? The only way she could have broken it is by mashing the pedal to the floor hard. Ironic since they had a soundbite of her crying on the radio about how she just wants "her little boy to be safe". With driving like that who needs sudden acceleration. This damn thing is just giving the media and other assorted idiots a voice.

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So he couldn't shift it into neutral. This is critical, as it may explain why the that Lexus was able to stop.

IIRC that Prius is under the floor mat recall, so I want to know what was going on with his floor mats. If they were not present or not in the way, this will blow the sudden acceleration cases wide open.

No, he was able to stop it, while receiving instruction from CHP over the bull horn. Read the actual article, not the quoted text in the original post--that report contained errors.

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This is never going to stop. Seriously. The apocalypse won't be due to religion or an asteroid, it will be because everyone owns a gee-dee Toyota.

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Maybe it's just a coincidence, but is it me or are most of the claims of unintended acceleration from older drivers?

The CHP officer didn't use his patrol car as a brake, as was stated in earlier reports; all he did was use a bullhorn to instruct the driver on how to turn off the engine. The driver couldn't get the instructions over the phone because he dropped it while trying to control the vehicle...

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Maybe it's just a coincidence, but is it me or are most of the claims of unintended acceleration from older drivers?

The CHP officer didn't use his patrol car as a brake, as was stated in earlier reports; all he did was use a bullhorn to instruct the driver on how to turn off the engine. The driver couldn't get the instructions over the phone because he dropped it while trying to control the vehicle...

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fiw-toyota-deaths-list28-2010feb28,0,2542318,full.story

While many are of middle-aged or older drivers...well, who buys Toyota and Lexus brands? Many are also of people young enough to avoid that suspicion.

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Whether he couldn't turn off the engine or simply did not know how (also a possibility) the patrolmen who helped him stop smelt burning brakes, so obviously Toyota's claim that if you get on the brakes hard enough it will overpower the acceleration is bogus.

On one of the Detroit TV stations they took a Camry out and demonstrated how at full throttle the brakes are supposed to counteract the gas pedal but this didn't happen, did it.

Also the news up here is reporting that one of the things that the driver did while trying to stop the car was move any floormats (there wasn't an issue there) and physically used foot and hand to unstick the gas pedal- to no avail.

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California officer helps driver stop his runaway Toyota

BY NATHAN OLIVAREZ-GILES

LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES — The driver of a Toyota Prius who called 911 on Monday to report his accelerator was stuck finally got the car stopped after about half hour with the help of the California Highway Patrol, law officers said.

“He was reaching speeds over 90 miles per hour,” CHP Officer Larry Landeros said of the driver, James Sikes.

A Toyota spokesman on Monday evening said the company was sending a representative to investigate the cause of the incident, which took place on Interstate 8 in San Diego County.

The cell phone call from the driver of the blue 2008 Prius came at about 1:30 p.m.

“He was driving near the La Posta Indian Reservation when he called 911 and said his gas pedal was stuck,” Landeros said.

Sikes, who was eastbound, told the emergency operator that “the car seemed to accelerate on its own after he passed another car,” Landeros said.

A CHP patrol car caught up to the Prius about 20 minutes later and used a loud speaker to tell the driver to apply his emergency brake in tandem with the brake pedal to slow down the car, Landeros said.

Once the Prius’ speed dropped to about 50 miles per hour, Sikes turned off the engine and was able to coast to a stop, the officer said.

Landeros didn’t know why the driver waited until then to turn off the engine, but the officer speculated that Sikes feared losing control due to a loss of power steering.

The CHP officer drove the patrol car in front of Sikes’ Prius in case it would be needed to act as a brake. But that wasn’t necessary and the two cars never touched while moving, Landeros said.

Sikes could not be reached for comment. No one was hurt in the incident, the CHP said.

Toyota has recalled millions of cars because of reports of unintended acceleration problems.

“We’re sending a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the car and find out what happened,” Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said Monday evening.

“We won’t be able to comment on what any possible problems with the car were until we take a look at the car.”

Sudden unintended acceleration has allegedly been the cause of 56 fatal accidents involving Toyotas in the U.S., going back as far as 2004.

The Prius that Sikes was driving was one of more than 4 million Toyota models recalled in November due to the reported acceleration problems, but the company was unsure if Sikes took his car into a Toyota dealer, Lyons said.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100309/BUSINESS01/100309012/1210/California-officer-helps-driver-stop-his-runaway-Toyota

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The Prius that Sikes was driving was one of more than 4 million Toyota models recalled in November due to the reported acceleration problems, but the company was unsure if Sikes took his car into a Toyota dealer, Lyons said.

Other stories say the driver reports he took the car to a local Toyota dealer in recent weeks concerned about the acceleration issue but was informed that his car wasn't part of the recall and turned away.

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I have some issue with this out of control clam on this particular instance.

One of the BIGEST problems ANY car manufacture is going to have with some drivers is this: they simply don’t have any common sense in how to deal with emergencies. This driver (and unfortunately the one of the San Diego Lexus crash a few months ago) both failed to simple put the car in neutral (not that they couldn’t, they just didn’t think to do it).

If the accelerator WAS stuck, most of the Toyota cars this has happened to have accelerated to well over 110 miles an hour and in a mater of minutes on WOT (wide open throttle). This incident lasted 30 minutes at a maximum speed of 90 miles an hour. The prius is capable of going faster then that at WOT.

Additionally almost every car made to day, the brakes have the ability to stop the vehicle even against the engines power, if you REALY put pressure on them (with both feet if necessary). You can stop most any car if you know what to do, but I think most drivers that have this problems simply don’t know what to do nor d o they know there vehicles limitations (like driving on wet roads, i.e. Los Angeles drivers) 

There is also the possibility that this also might have been a publicity stunt.

California officer helps driver stop his runaway Toyota

BY NATHAN OLIVAREZ-GILES

LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES — The driver of a Toyota Prius who called 911 on Monday to report his accelerator was stuck finally got the car stopped after about half hour with the help of the California Highway Patrol, law officers said.

“He was reaching speeds over 90 miles per hour,” CHP Officer Larry Landeros said of the driver, James Sikes.

A Toyota spokesman on Monday evening said the company was sending a representative to investigate the cause of the incident, which took place on Interstate 8 in San Diego County.

The cell phone call from the driver of the blue 2008 Prius came at about 1:30 p.m.

“He was driving near the La Posta Indian Reservation when he called 911 and said his gas pedal was stuck,” Landeros said.

Sikes, who was eastbound, told the emergency operator that “the car seemed to accelerate on its own after he passed another car,” Landeros said.

A CHP patrol car caught up to the Prius about 20 minutes later and used a loud speaker to tell the driver to apply his emergency brake in tandem with the brake pedal to slow down the car, Landeros said.

Once the Prius’ speed dropped to about 50 miles per hour, Sikes turned off the engine and was able to coast to a stop, the officer said.

Landeros didn’t know why the driver waited until then to turn off the engine, but the officer speculated that Sikes feared losing control due to a loss of power steering.

The CHP officer drove the patrol car in front of Sikes’ Prius in case it would be needed to act as a brake. But that wasn’t necessary and the two cars never touched while moving, Landeros said.

Sikes could not be reached for comment. No one was hurt in the incident, the CHP said.

Toyota has recalled millions of cars because of reports of unintended acceleration problems.

“We’re sending a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the car and find out what happened,” Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said Monday evening.

“We won’t be able to comment on what any possible problems with the car were until we take a look at the car.”

Sudden unintended acceleration has allegedly been the cause of 56 fatal accidents involving Toyotas in the U.S., going back as far as 2004.

The Prius that Sikes was driving was one of more than 4 million Toyota models recalled in November due to the reported acceleration problems, but the company was unsure if Sikes took his car into a Toyota dealer, Lyons said.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100309/BUSINESS01/100309012/1210/California-officer-helps-driver-stop-his-runaway-Toyota

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both failed to simple put the car in neutral (not that they couldn’t, they just didn’t think to do it).

once again...

radio traffic acknowledged the driver was unable to shift the vehicle into neutral
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I have some issue with this out of control clam on this particular instance.

One of the BIGEST problems ANY car manufacture is going to have with some drivers is this: they simply don’t have any common sense in how to deal with emergencies. This driver (and unfortunately the one of the San Diego Lexus crash a few months ago) both failed to simple put the car in neutral (not that they couldn’t, they just didn’t think to do it).

If the accelerator WAS stuck, most of the Toyota cars this has happened to have accelerated to well over 110 miles an hour and in a mater of minutes on WOT (wide open throttle). This incident lasted 30 minutes at a maximum speed of 90 miles an hour. The prius is capable of going faster then that at WOT.

Additionally almost every car made to day, the brakes have the ability to stop the vehicle even against the engines power, if you REALY put pressure on them (with both feet if necessary). You can stop most any car if you know what to do, but I think most drivers that have this problems simply don’t know what to do nor d o they know there vehicles limitations (like driving on wet roads, i.e. Los Angeles drivers) 

There is also the possibility that this also might have been a publicity stunt.

On the Lexus ES350, the car's normal neutral position on the shifter will not shift the vehicle into neutral at speed. There is a "gate" or position that will, but it is not marked and not intuitive. Chances are this is similar on the Prius. The driver in this incident and the ES350 incident both likely attempted to put their vehicles into neutral unsuccessfully.

The driver of the Prius was likely applying brakes the entire time, which is why he didn't accelerate above 90mph. It wasn't until the officer instructed him to apply the brakes and emergency brake together that he was able to decelerate the car to 50mph. It was probably at this time that it was explained to the driver that the stop-start button must be held down for several seconds to shut down the vehicle (if it is like the ES350 that is -just pushing it will not shut the car off when the car is at speed). Some reports say that the driver was too scared to attempt turning the vehicle off due to a potential loss of steering.

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Update from Jalopnik:

Much of yesterday's out-of-control Prius story confused us and the interview on CNN with driver Jim Sikes has us even more perplexed. At one point he says he was "standing on the pedal" indicating a brake pedal that couldn't overwhelm an accelerator. Then he goes on to mention he tried to pull the accelerator pedal up by hand — not a move normally recommended. Eventually he was able to turn the car off and stop.

According to NBC San Diego the driver was possibly already concerned about the possibility of being in a runaway car:

"He said he had visited Toyota of El Cajon to get the vehicle serviced and to take care of a recall notice on the acceleration. He said that the dealership told him that his was not a model covered by the recall and he was turned away. The Prius is a second-generation model and should be under the floor mat recall, but there's no fix for Prius drivers with this issue yet and the driver is adamant the floor mats were fine".

http://jalopnik.com/5489244/runaway-toyota-prius-driver-had-to-be-told-to-use-emergency-brake

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Good grief, this story has had so many holes in it that it is difficult to find clarity on the situation. Now it may be turning into a conspiracy on the part of the driver making the whole thing up?

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I don’t see how two (2) safety systems (brakes and shifting into neutral) can fail simultaneously. The NTSB should be investigating this if this TRULY happened. I personally thing the driver doesn’t know how to operate his car properly.

Besides, the radio traffic is just relaying what the driver is telling the officer, he is not in the car with him to make sure he is not making a mistake and shifting into B and not neutral.

If they can prove this wasn’t a case of driver ignorance, then every prius owner on the road should be instructed to park there vehicles and have it inspected.

post-10207-12681869631456.jpg

once again...

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Actually if you think about it, the brake pedal applies both the front AND the rear breaks stimulatingly. Pulling the emergency break just keeps the rear brakes from releasing, they use the same mechanism for both normal breaking and as a parking brake.

On the Lexus ES350, the car's normal neutral position on the shifter will not shift the vehicle into neutral at speed. There is a "gate" or position that will, but it is not marked and not intuitive. Chances are this is similar on the Prius. The driver in this incident and the ES350 incident both likely attempted to put their vehicles into neutral unsuccessfully.

The driver of the Prius was likely applying brakes the entire time, which is why he didn't accelerate above 90mph. It wasn't until the officer instructed him to apply the brakes and emergency brake together that he was able to decelerate the car to 50mph. It was probably at this time that it was explained to the driver that the stop-start button must be held down for several seconds to shut down the vehicle (if it is like the ES350 that is -just pushing it will not shut the car off when the car is at speed). Some reports say that the driver was too scared to attempt turning the vehicle off due to a potential loss of steering.

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