This is probably not how Toyota wanted their week to start. Yesterday afternoon in Southern California, a man called 911 because he was unable to unstick the accelerator pedal of his 2008 Toyota Prius and continued to drive at speeds of over 90 mph until finally coming to a stop.
The driver was about 60 miles east of San Diego on I-8 when he says he “pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny… it jumped and it just stuck there. As it was going, I was trying the brakes… it wasn’t stopping.”
That’s when the driver called 911.
“He was reaching speeds over 90 miles per hour,” CHP Officer Larry Landeros confirmed. It took the police about 20 minutes to reach the runaway Prius. And according to Landeros, a CHP patrol officer used a loudspeaker to instruct the driver to apply his emergency brake while depressing the brake pedal simultaneously.
This was able to get the car down to around 50 mph, at which point the driver killed the ignition and coasted to a stop. It’s not known yet if he had attempted earlier to turn off the engine, though Landeros believed the driver kept the car on so as to not lose power steering.
No one was hurt in the incident and no external damage was done to either the Prius or the CHP vehicle in pursuit.
As expected, Toyota is taking this seriously.
“We’re sending a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the car and find out what happened,” a Toyota spokesman said about the incident. “We won’t be able to comment on what any possible problems with the car were until we take a look at the car.”
The 2008 Prius was one of the millions of Toyota vehicles recalled for issues of sudden unintended acceleration. The driver told reporters that he went to the dealership about two weeks ago with his recall notice and was told that his car was not on the list.
“I’ll be back there tomorrow,” he said after the incident.
There have been several complaints from Toyota owners claiming that their cars were still malfunctioning, even after being serviced.