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California Highway Patrol Helps Stop Speeding Prius

Posted: Mar 09, 2010 10:21 a.m.

Even Eric Estrada didn't get this much excitement.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, "The California Highway Patrol says an officer helped slow a runaway Toyota Prius from 94 mph to a safe stop after the car's accelerator became stuck."

The L.A. Times writes, that James Sikes, 61, is "The driver of a Toyota Prius who called 911 on Monday to report his accelerator was stuck finally got the car stopped after about 20 minutes with the help of the California Highway Patrol, officers said. . . . The cellphone call came about 1:30 p.m. from the driver of the blue 2008 Prius eastbound on Interstate 8 in San Diego County." The Chronicle adds, "A patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and officers told Sikes over a loudspeaker to use the brakes and emergency brake. After the car slowed to about 50 mph, Sikes felt safe enough to turn off the engine and coast to a halt."

NPR writes that Sikes, the car's owner, "says his accelerator 'wouldn't do anything' after becoming stuck yesterday on a stretch of Interstate 8 in southern California." The L.A. Times quotes Sikes as saying, "I 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."

Jalopnik comments, "This high-profile incident comes on the same day Toyota made just-as-high-a-profile defense of its cars against an ABC News report Toyota calls a ‘careful and deliberate manipulation’ of the facts."  Also, Jalopnik notes that the 2008 Prius, "is under the floor mat recall but not the brake pedal recall."

In response to the incident, Toyota says it "has dispatched a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the report and offer assistance."

Check out the latest Toyota recall news and information, including how the company's recent troubles affect our rankings. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.