Skip to comments.Prius “Balloon Boy”: Scam for cash? Ex biz partner fingers Sikes as scammer
Posted on 03/13/2010 10:51:51 AM PST by Starman417
Independent investigative journalist, Michael Fumento, has down the yeoman's work on what appears to be the latest "Balloom Boy" hoax, Jim Sike's runaway Prius escapade on San Diego's Interstate 8. Just as a nation watched a solitary balloon supposedly containing a young boy, made all the more dramatic when mesmerized, by hushed voices by talking heads expressing their horror, again the media dominated the airwaves with an runaway Prius with 61 year old Realtor®, Jim Sikes, at the wheel and on his cell with 911 responders.
Still, there were a few detecting a distinct aroma about the affair. 911 repeatedly told Sikes to utilize the NHTSA recommended, and amazingly simple solution in case of SUA (sudden unintended acceleration)... either shift to neutral, or turn off the engine.
In both cases, Sikes refused to respond, or indicated he would not take that advice.
Over a 23-minute period the 911 dispatcher repeatedly pleaded with Sikes to shift into neutral. He simply refused and then essentially stopped talking to her except to say that he thought he could smell his brakes burning.
"I thought about" shifting into neutral, Sikes said at a televised press conference the day after the incident. But "I had never played with this kind of a transmission, especially when you're driving and I was actually afraid to do that." Sikes, who has driven the car for two years, also said "I figured if I knocked it over [the gear knob] the car might flip."
He told CNN, "I was afraid to try to [reach] over there and put it in neutral. I was holding onto the steering wheel with both hands--94 miles an hour in a Toyota Prius is fast." Yet for much of the ride he had a phone in one hand. And this is especially interesting: Most gear shifts are on the console, requiring the hand to drop to shift. But, as this image shows, in the 2008 Prius it's located on the dash within inches of the steering wheel precisely to allow shifting without the hand leaving the wheel. I sat in one and did it easily.
Another unique feature of the shift is that it's amazingly simple, with only forward, reverse, neutral and "B." The express purpose of "B" is to slow the car while preserving the brakes, as in a steep descent. Sikes actually could have shifted into two different gears.
Moreover, why would Sikes describe shifting gears as somehow "playing with the transmission." And apparently he's never shifted while the vehicle was moving and thought somehow a gear shift could flip his car.
The dispatcher also pleaded with him repeatedly to hit the ignition button. Again, he says he was simply afraid to.
Early in the press conference he said it was because "There was too much traffic to just shut the car off. You know, turn off the vehicle and get hit in the rear." But that's always true when you slow down; just make sure nobody's right behind you. Later he switched gears, pun not intended, saying he was afraid the steering wheel and wheels would lock up.
Instead, Sikes insists he was "laying on the brakes", and it did nothing. Well, Fumento covers that bit of exaggeration as well.
Read more at floppingaces.net...
Like the Balloon Boy hoax, this episode had the same ring to it so far as I’m concerned.
How much traffic can be around you if you are doing 90 mph? How did this loser even buy this car? I read he had a lot of financial troubles.
I read that in his youth he drove a race car. This guy’s gonna get it. His house was in foreclosure, just recently, and when they went to show the house, the whole kitchen had been ripped out, the marble counter tops, stove, fridge, everything gone. He also runs a wife swapping website, they guy is scum.
This guy has committed several felonies, but will be let off the hook because his antics help to further the political agenda of the press, the Administration, and the UAW.
The more this Toyota thing plays out the more it seems it was orchestrated both to weaken GM and Chrysler (union) competition and also to give the trial lawyers something their juries would fall over for.
Some peope should just ride the bus.
I’m afraid I am not familiar with the inner working of the new “enviromental pansy cars”, but I have to wonder... are these cars built without an emergency brake or “neutral”?
Anybody in the market for a luxury condo in the heart of Chula Juana? Better move fast because there are only 3 left!
I did not buy the story when I heard it, the first time.
Then, when I saw the “victim” on TV, I did not trust him at all.
I don’t know why.
I just didn’t buy it.
I hope he does time in the big house for it.
I knew it was BS right away,, a car going 94 mpg on a So. Cal freeway is merely keeping up with traffic.
Toyota shoud sue him for everything he doesn’t have.
Re: “This guy has committed several felonies, but will be let off the hook because his antics help to further the political agenda of the press, the Administration, and the UAW.”
Exactly — soon we will hear of his run for Congress!
I didn’t smell anything til his lawyer said they would not sue TOYOTA.....then I took a BIG WHIFF!
“Prius Balloon Boy”. ROTFL!!!
I smelled a rat (or thought I did) from the get-go.
Can’t let go to put it in neutral, but you can talk to 911 for 20 minutes till the media get there?
I hope he was using a hands-free cell phone....’cause otherwise, you know, it’s just not safe.
RE: “The more this Toyota thing plays out the more it seems it was orchestrated both to weaken GM and Chrysler (union) competition and also to give the trial lawyers something their juries would fall over for.”
Agree — I’ve suspected this almost from the start —
Are there any Toyota products with problems? Sure, just as EVERY brand out there has problems at times. Recalls? Yep, been thru that with Fords and Volvos. Admitted factory defects NOT resulting in recalls? Yes, went that route with a Nissan braking system.
Given the gigantic number of Toyota products sold over time, the number of vehicles causing trouble, even now, is tiny. And...I had the same issue with a Mustang in 1968 and the Volvo in 1982!
I have a Toyota product now and would buy another without hesitation. I’ve noticed quite a few brand new Toyotas in my area so dealers must be really hurting. One Toyota dealer’s general manager in North Jersey was on the radio yesterday and said in the past couple of months their sales were down FORTY PERCENT! Gee, thanks NTSA, UAW, OBAMA and the thug lawyers and Toyota drivers faking problems, hoping to cash in on this. Again, I’m sure there have been some vehicles with problems, but not to the extent publicized.
Re: “I hope he was using a hands-free cell phone....cause otherwise, you know, its just not safe.”
Report I heard yesterday on radio stated he was holding a cell phone to his ear — nice!
This guy’s story smelled bad from the beginning, and now his exposure as a known scammer is proof. Toyota should sue him.
If you look at the photo in this thread, the gear selector is the lowest control under the center air vent, to the right of the steering wheel. To switch to neutral you push the selector to the left (if you can see the 'N' there, click on picture for better view) for 3 seconds. Once in neutral, the power to the wheels will be cut.
Another option is to push the POWER button (you can see it to the left of the center air vent, near 2 o'clock mark on the steering wheel. Push it for 3 seconds, and the car will shut down regardless of what it was doing.
Prius doesn't have a steering wheel lock (and it doesn't need one, since it's virtually impossible to steal without a keyfob.)
The parking brake is a pedal to the left of where the clutch would be in a stick shift car. You can see a bit of it above the footrest. This brake pulls a cable that actuates rear brakes; it's no more efficient than in any car - I doubt it would have any effect on stopping a runaway car.
Prius has a kill button?
When I first heard about this I suspected a scam. Did not make sense that he could not just turn off the key or just take it out of gear to stop it.
prius drivers exude superiority.
I love my 2008 Prius. It’s easy to drive and I can hit 85 and keep it in control!
Does anyone remember the syringes found in Pepsi cans back in 1993? It turned out people put them in after they opened it. They did to for various reasons from wanting money to donate to charity. It was all a hoax.
The really big question here, to me, is why the media is so damned credulous? Does anybody still really grant the talking heads of the mainstream media any credibility at all?
“Yes, went that route with a Nissan braking system.”
Tell me more - a friend at work has an ‘02 Altima that has always exhibited some weird brake behaviour in the winter, which he’s never been able to get resolved.
My Altima was a ‘93 and had brake problems from day one — they finally sent out an area director who said it was a factory defect, not dangerous, just annoying and noisy, and not to worry about it. I drove that car for 10 years and no, it was not a problem but really annoying.
There were other recalls on that car, too, but I took it in and they ‘fixed’ whatever ailed it and I was outta there —
All cars have problems — my least favorite was the factory defect in the Volvo that had it totally stopping on an LA freeway — the whole thing just died. Years later a co-worker had a top of the line Lexus do the same thing to him, twice. Lexus fixed it and all was well.
As we know, they ALL have problems of one sort or another — overall I’d say vehicles are a lot better than they were decades ago though people weren’t as prone to lawsuits, etc., then.
RE: “prius drivers exude superiority.”
They sure do — my obnoxious lefty Obama cheerleader got one; just HAD to have it — wonder how she feels about it now? We have not spoken since she saw my “Don’t Tread on Me” sticker on my own car. LOL I’m better off, the woman thinks she knows EVERYTHING and tries to impose her will on everyone. Sound familiar?
Oops: forgot one word in post, above: my (cheerleader) NEIGHBOR -—
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