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Story of Runaway Toyota Prius Questioned by NHTSA and Toyota


2008 Toyota Prius

2008 Toyota Prius

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More issues are surfacing in regards to the runaway Prius story from last week involving momentary celebrity James Sikes, whose runaway incident in a 2008 Toyota Prius made headlines for days.

Last week, Jalopnik reported on the financial troubles of Sikes, who filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The courts took his Mercedes, a Dodge Ram, a boat, and a motor home leaving him just the Prius for transportation to share with his wife.

2008 Toyota Prius

2008 Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo

2008 Toyota Prius

2008 Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo

2008 Toyota Prius

2008 Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo

The Prius that was involved in the freeway incident is a lease vehicle due for return soon, which would leave Sikes without a vehicle.

USA Today reports that Sikes does not plan to file a lawsuit against Toyota, but does hope to secure a new car out of the ordeal.  A new car could certainly be in order if the runaway event was proved to be caused by an actual vehicle fault.

However, his account of the events has not been confirmed yet. Indeed, Toyota and the NTHSA have said that the facts appear to be leaning against his story, as the vehicle apparently cannot do what Sikes states occurred during the incident.

Before releasing official findings, Toyota and the NHTSA have decided to tear down the 2008 Prius in question and test all system to determine if anything is faulty and could have led to the ordeal.

Toyota questions the truthfulness of Sike's story and has publicly noted that the Prius, if operating correctly, has a brake override system in place that prevents engine rpm from increasing when the brake is applied.

The investigation is still ongoing, but many questions remain unresolved.  We will provide further updates as Toyota and the NHTSA delve deeper into the Prius and present their findings.

[Jalopnik, USA Today via Detroit Free Press]

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Comments (6)
  1. As much as I enjoy watching Toyota twist in the wind, I have to admit to some doubts about this one. I mean, why couldn't he put it in neutral and/or hold the button down and kill the engine?
     
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  2. Eric, your headline "Toyota Prius Woes Continue to Build" seems out of whack with the content of your article.
    The article seems to be more "Prius Critics Lose Credibility as Facts Emerge".
    I have researched and discussed the social and factual history of "sudden acceleration" in my blog, and as it has been for the last 30 years these incidents are about as credible as UFO reports.
    They are almost without fail driver error and hype from ambulance chasing lawyers.
    As much as "Evil Corporation Covers Up Car Failures" sells in the media, the facts about driver fallibility are much less exciting, and you don't see any corrections coming to say "Sorry Toyota, We Were Wrong".
    Inaccurate headlines don't help.
     
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  3. I have no affiliation (see me website in the link, its not this website) but http://priuschat.com/ has several videos from toyotas testing and have discussed this at length. You article makes it sound as if there may be a chance he's legit, they have already tested the computer and brake override etc in the vehicle, the only new piece is that they are tearing it apart.
     
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  4. There remains no evidence its cars are unsafe.
     
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  5. Sikes should be given a 71 Pinto wagon. To pull off this stunt for a new car is as bad as it gets. Get real Sikes. Go back under the sleazy rock you slithered from under.
     
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  6. Sarah: please note the title of this article has been changed to better reflect the content.
     
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