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Toyota hybrid runaway story a hoax?
Washington Times-Water Cooler ^ | 3/12/10 | Kerry Picket

Posted on 03/12/2010 1:04:44 PM PST by paltz

Michael Fumento writes at Forbes.com that the out of control Toyota Prius story is likely a hoax. Prius owner James Sikes may have pulled off a scam complete with a 911 call to cops when he claimed his car's gas pedal was stuck, and he was accelerating faster than 90 miles an hour.

It got far more dramatic, though. The California Highway Patrol responded and "To get the runaway car to stop, they actually had to put their patrol car in front of the Prius and step on the brakes." During over 20 harrowing minutes, according to NBC's report, Sikes "did everything he could to try to slow down that Prius." Others said, "Radio traffic indicated the driver was unable to turn off the engine or shift the car into neutral."

In fact, almost none of this was true. Virtually every aspect of Sikes's story as told to reporters makes no sense. His claim that he'd tried to yank up the accelerator could be falsified, with his help, in half a minute. And now we even have an explanation for why he'd pull such a stunt, beyond the all-American desire to have 15 minutes of fame (recall the "Balloon Boy Hoax" from October) and the aching need to be perceived as a victim.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: hoax; jamessikes; prius; toyota; warontoyota

1 posted on 03/12/2010 1:04:44 PM PST by paltz
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To: paltz

After they are done with discrediting Toyota, it will be Hondas’ turn.


2 posted on 03/12/2010 1:08:18 PM PST by vlad335
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To: paltz
I can think of a reason for a hoax

Chili Finger Lady

3 posted on 03/12/2010 1:08:56 PM PST by BBell
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To: paltz

He had an aching need to explain away his failure to make payments on his Prius.


4 posted on 03/12/2010 1:12:59 PM PST by Carley (Are you better off now than one year ago? HELL NO!!!!!)
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To: paltz
Ah let's see. The guy accelerates uncontrollably to 90 mph but has the coordination to phone the police. The police (doing 200 mph I guess) catch up and pass him, physically slowing the auto down.

He never thinks of turning off the ignition to shut down all systems.

5 posted on 03/12/2010 1:14:08 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: paltz
I heard on the radio from a Car and Driver Tech that when the guy said that the pedal pulled away from his foot that there is no valid explanation for that since there is no mechanical linkage in that car to the accelator pedal since cruise control does not do that anymore.

As soon as I heard that, I figured it was a hoax.
6 posted on 03/12/2010 1:14:23 PM PST by microgood
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To: paltz
When I heard this loon explain what happened (including the 911 operator asking him if he had try to shift into neutral) and his reply that he did NOT dare take both hands off the wheel, or try to turn off the ignition, for "fear that the steering wheel might LOCK UP" (Bull sheet!) I suspected that this moron, though middle-aged, must be dumber than a box of rocks or only learned how to drive a few weeks ago!

None of what he claimed made any sense and before I ever took to the roads (at age 14, some 52 years ago) I knew about shifting into neutral, pushing on the clutch pedal or shutting off the motor.

7 posted on 03/12/2010 1:17:09 PM PST by Conservative Vermont Vet ((One of ONLY 37 Conservatives in the People's Republic of Vermont. Socialists and Progressives All))
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To: vlad335
Just wondering Vlad, who is “they”?
I knew this story sounded wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it but something just wasn't right about it. Can't wait for the rest of this story. Should be interesting.
I wonder if we will be hearing about that prius (sp) that hit the wall next.
8 posted on 03/12/2010 1:19:46 PM PST by Country Eagle
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To: paltz

The smell of the UAW, big stockholders of General Motors courtesy of Obama, pervades this story. Non Union Toyota have their own Pearl Harbor on their hands.


9 posted on 03/12/2010 1:21:29 PM PST by hgro (Jerry Riversd)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

While I absolutely believe this is a hoax, I can tell you that you can’t necessarily just “turn off” a Prius.

I had one as a rental car, and the first time I drove it, I couldn’t be sure how to get it into the equivalent of “PARK”, how to turn it off, and how/when to remove the ‘key’.

BUT if you have driven one for a while, you know what to do.


10 posted on 03/12/2010 1:23:05 PM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: paltz

Toyota has become the primo lottery box and the lawyers and opportunist car owners are all pushing forward to get their piece. Many will make up stuff and Toyota will probably pay out settlements just to get it to stop, but it won’t. The government is heavily involved in this fleecing of the Japs because it is how a government company, GMchrysler for instance, competes in the market.


11 posted on 03/12/2010 1:26:00 PM PST by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: paltz

The fact is, the Prius has always had a brake override. It needs it to prevent overloading the regen braking system. The Prius has to return the throttle to idle when you step on the brake. So that system would also have to have failed for this guy’s story to be true.

Many people who drive a Prius are unaware that it already has a brake override system.


12 posted on 03/12/2010 1:32:06 PM PST by ltc8k6
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To: microgood

Yes, that would require a throttle cable, which the Prius does not have.


13 posted on 03/12/2010 1:33:59 PM PST by ltc8k6
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To: paltz

AUDI went through all of this a few years back. Most of those were debunked eventually as hoaxes too, but not before 60 Minutes and the rest of the ever compliant media helped the plaintiffs bar whip up a mad frenzy.


14 posted on 03/12/2010 1:45:46 PM PST by blau993 (Fight Gerbil Swarming)
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To: paltz
This guy said on video that he "never thought about" putting it in neutral because he was to hyped up and excited. That struck me as odd.
Many years ago I was traveling at 40 mph through a town (yes, that was the speed limit). Coming up on a red light I applied the brakes and felt the pedal suddenly give out and sink on down to the floorboard. As there was fairly heavy traffic my first impulse was panic. I swerved to miss a car, ran thru the redlight nearly taking out a pedestrian. Survival mode kicked in and I put the transy in its lowest gear, moved the car to the side of the road where the tires rubbed against the concrete of the drainage ditch. That slowed me down to 15 mph at which time I rammed the transy into park. It destroyed the transmission but the car came to a stop.
I find it hard to believe his survival instinct didn't take over and guide him better.
15 posted on 03/12/2010 1:48:36 PM PST by phredo53 (Caution: This post does not comply with White House standards.)
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To: paltz

Mt husband had a pick up converted to run on propane a few years ago. It ran away with him on a crowded freeway where he couldn’t just put it in neutral and come to a slow stop. He finally got over in the right lane where he was able to exit and get it stopped but he was one scared driver for a few minutes. He said bye bye to a bad idea.


16 posted on 03/12/2010 1:51:22 PM PST by Ditter
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To: paltz

I had a car that could not only move its own gas pedal but could start its self and drive away in the middle of the night. I know it did because I had the keys in my pocket and when it was found no one was in it!


17 posted on 03/12/2010 1:56:31 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: paltz

What are the chances of being on an empty California highway where you can speed for 20 minutes. Where are the witnesses besides the police officer.
I don’t believe during our vacation in California we were able to drive the speed limit for 2o minutes without having to slow down.


18 posted on 03/12/2010 1:58:44 PM PST by texteacher
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To: paltz

I got very suspicious when I heard him interviewed the next morning on KABC in Los Angeles (Peter Tilden show). Well into the interview, he said (and I’m paraphrasing):

“I’m heading over to El Cajon Toyota at 9 o’clock to talk to the management there...”

If he wasn’t seeking publicity, why the specifics about where he would be and when. My instant reaction was: he wants the press there.


19 posted on 03/12/2010 2:04:04 PM PST by Cousin Eddie
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To: paltz
Am I the only one who remembers gas pedals that really did stick?

Some Fords were notorious for the throttle linkage or carb valves getting “sticky”. I had one. The linkage was supposed to be lubed with each oil change but since I was poor and did oil changes myself it was never done. Occasionally the throttle would stick and I had to either “goose” the pedal, which is a very counter intuitive move, or pull it back with my hand.

I guess that experience along with several spectacular crashes on go-karts and minibikes due to stuck open throttles, taught me how to handle an unruly gas pedal.

I have drove so many junkers that I am always ready for the gas pedal to stick, the breaks to fail, the tires to blow out, or even the occasional exploding engine.

20 posted on 03/12/2010 2:17:37 PM PST by FreedomNotSafety
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To: paltz
Once again, the MSM figure it out two days after us Freepers!

(I wonder if our comments had any impact?)

21 posted on 03/12/2010 2:24:18 PM PST by ROLF of the HILL COUNTRY (It's the spending, Stupid!)
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To: paltz

The British Army took delivery of fifty Toyota Prius early this month. The cars will be used by the White Fleet, which is the Army’s non-combat corps of administrators and officers. Sources say that they did test the Prius with a 30mm canon on it, but that the recoil crumpled the car’s roof, so the plan to field them as ultra-efficient combat vehicles was scrapped. ;o)

22 posted on 03/12/2010 2:30:19 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: FreedomNotSafety

I have had a couple of clunker cars in my life, and every one of them had a gas pedal that sometimes had to be pulled by hand back to idle! Purely a mechanical thing, like you I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the linkage and its lubrication.

What these people are describing is different it seems to me. When the pedal would stick the car would not slow down when you let off the accelerator. But it would not speed up and try to run faster. I would have problems with unintended continuing at the same speed, but never with unintended acceleration!

This is really a tough one. Only a test pilot or maybe a fighter pilot would tend to have the skills to override the pure panic of sudden, unexpected, rapid acceleration in traffic! And maybe a race car driver.

Imagine the confusion of having it happen and not being able to figure out what was going on. I suppose it’s possible some electronic glitch could cause something untoward with the speed, but off hand I can’t think of anything.

My money would be on the floor mat, that happened to me in 1990 in my stick shift Honda Accord. Took me a bit to figure out what had happened and then a second or two to reach down and get the mat out of the way.


23 posted on 03/12/2010 2:31:38 PM PST by jwparkerjr
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To: paltz

I’m still amazed that a Pious (yes, purposely misspelled) could do 90.

And I still love my Toyota!!!


24 posted on 03/12/2010 2:53:47 PM PST by KosmicKitty (WARNING: Hormonally crazed woman ahead!!)
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To: paltz

It was without a doubt a hoax. I’ve never seen a Pius do 90mph.


25 posted on 03/12/2010 2:53:54 PM PST by CodeToad
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