Wednesday, March 10, 2010

James Sikes and his accelerated 2008 Toyota Prius

You think there's something fishy with the Sikes' sudden acceleration story while he was driving his Prius? Toyota has already been warning drivers of their cars for weeks to shift into neutral if their gas pedals get stuck, and just about every news story reporting sudden acceleration tragedies have been followed up with an advisory to shift into neutral in the event of a similar emergency. Yet, for reasons of his own, Sikes refused to do just that, even after both the 911 operator that answered his emergency call, and the dispatched California Highway Patrol officer driving in the next lane instructed him to do so. The CHP officer even used a megaphone. By his own account, Sikes had the presence of mind to reach down and grab the stuck gas pedal and try to pry it up with his free hand even as his car was wildly accelerating to speeds reaching 94 mph. Perhaps, there's more to the story, and perhaps there ain't.

Sikes, a real estate agent, said he was passing another car when the accelerator stuck and eventually reached 94 mph.

During the two 911 calls, Sikes ignored many of the dispatcher's questions, saying later that he had to put his phone on the seat to keep his hands on the wheel.

Leighann Parks, a 24-year-old dispatcher, repeatedly told him to throw the car into neutral but got no answers.

"He was very emotional, you could tell on the line he was panicked," Parks told reporters outside the CHP's El Cajon office. "I could only imagine being in his shoes and being that stressed."

Officer Neibert told Sikes after the CHP caught up with him to shift to neutral but the driver shook his head no. Sikes told reporters he didn't go into neutral because he worried the car would flip.

By ELLIOT SPAGAT (AP)

7 comments:

gigihawaii said...

Hubby thinks it was a hoax and there was nothing wrong with the Prius. Let the truth prevail!

OkiHwn said...

$$$$$$$$$

RONW said...

gigi- it wouldn't be anything entirely new in a litigious-minded society, but the "suspense" is over just how thoroughly Sikes has thought this scheme through.

RONW said...

Nate- so to speak, a kingdom for a car.

KirkK said...

Hey RONW - You missed the part of the story early on where Sikes hired an attorney, but was quoted as saying he "had no intention of suing". hmmmm......

RONW said...

Kirk- the plot thickens. Pretty much senseless, though. The news said that Sikes filed for bankruptcy in 2007. Perhaps, just too much time on his hands.

Bob/Paul said...

The guy was heading south, right? (911 operator mentioned during the call that border patrol had been notified).

I think this guy was fleeing to mexico to escape his debt. Leap in logic? That or he was suicidal but had to make it look like an accident so his wife could still collect the life insurance.

How did he stop? Did police cars get in front of him and brake or did he finally shift into Neutral or press the Start button for 5 seconds like the 911 operator had instructed for 15 minutes?