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Video: Driver claims Prius went wild on freeway

  1. Closed captioning of: Driver claims Prius went wild on freeway

    >>> live interview.

    >>> but we begin with the wild ride involving a runaway toyota prius on a highway in california. miguel almaguer has more details.

    >> reporter: the 61-year-old driver who has a heart condition says he did everything he could to slow down that prius , but he says the car kept going faster and faster. wedged behind a california highway patrol cruiser, the 2008 prius sat idle after a terrifying 30-mile ride that nearly cost james sikes his life.

    >> still shook up.

    >> reporter: it began when he tried to pass another driver and his car accelerated out of control. as he dodged other vehicles, sikes says the brakes didn't work. soon, he was doing 90. he called 911.

    >> i was on the brakes pretty healthy. it wasn't stopping, wasn't doing anything to it, and just kept speeding up.

    >> reporter: the patrol car pulled alongside using the p.a. system to relay instructions -- keep pressure on the brake, try to shut the car off.

    >> when i saw him, i could smell the brakes. i saw his brake lights coming on.

    >> i was standing on the brake pedal , looking out the window at him, and he said, "push the emergency brake , too," and i laid on both of them.

    >> reporter: suddenly, the car began to slow down, dropping to 55 miles per hour. the chp cruiser moved in front of the hybrid, guiding the prius to a stop on the interstate. sikes just had his car serviced at a local dealer. mechanics told him his car wasn't a part of any recall, but eventually, some prius models were recalled for floor mats or brake problems. toyota 's recalled 8.5 million vehicles worldwide and 6 million here in the u.s. now the company says it's investigating this latest incident.

    >> do you solemnly swear --

    >> reporter: just last month, congress held hearings on the toyota recalls after the government received complaints of over 30 deaths linked to sudden acceleration since 2000 .

    >> it's really starting to feed in and fuel a sense that possibly toyota really doesn't know what the situation is and it's a mystery that we're all going to have to discover together.

    >> reporter: the investigation into what happened in this case could take weeks, but damage to toyota 's reputation may already be done.

    >> i won't drive that car again, period.

    >> reporter: this morning, both the california highway patrol and toyota say they are investigating the incident. in fact, toyota officials say they're sending a representative here to southern california to take a look at that car. matt?

    >> hey, miguel , the highway patrolman said he told the driver to turn the ignition off. the driver did not do that, though, correct? why?

    >> reporter: the driver said he did everything he could to turn off that car, matt, and of course, remember, these priuses don't have those key switch ignitions, they have those buttons, and the driver may have had some concern that he would have lost his power steering at speeds up to 90 miles per hour, but he does say he did everything he could to turn off that car.

    >> all right, miguel almaguer for us this morning. miguel , thanks very much. it's now five

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