Monday, March 15, 2010

Runaway Prius owner being investigated.

Remember the "runaway" Prius a couple of weeks ago? Turns out the driver, James Sikes, is being investigated now, and has lawyered up. John Gomez, an attorney for Sikes said the failure to repeat the incident is insignificant and not surprising. "They have never been able to replicate an incident of sudden acceleration. Mr. Sikes never had a problem in the three years he owned this vehicle," he said Sunday.
Apparently Sikes has hired the world's dumbest lawyer. By his own admission, the car has had no problem in three years, and now suddenly whilst everyone is kicking Toyota, his Prius has a problem? Sure.
Sikes was faking it and he's been caught. He likely never had a problem with the car but wanted either media attention, or more likely the money he thought he was going to get out of suing Toyota. Obviously he didn't see what happened to the parents of 'balloon boy' ....

Prius's are designed to prevent stuck accelerator problems, and neither their pedal design nor floormat are involved in the Toyota recalls. Both Toyota and the NHTSA spent two days taking that Prius to pieces and there's no evidence of any problem either now or at any point in the past. A Toyota official who was at the inspection last week even explained that one of the drive motors would "completely seize" when the Prius's brake failsafe system kicked in, and there was no evidence to support that happened.
For a Prius to accelerate out of control, at least two systems would have to fail simultaneously; the sensor signal that tracks the brake and gas pedal positions when the driver presses on them and the hybrid control computers. Statistically speaking, that's all but impossible.
Sikes, it turns out, is no stranger to money questions and passing celebrity. According to a Fox news investigation, in 2001, he filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff's Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a prosumer mini-DV camera and gear, and $24,000 in cash. In 2006 he was on television, winning $55,000 on "The Big Spin." Two years ago, he filed for bankruptcy in San Diego. Documents show he was more than $700,000 in debt and owed Toyota $19000 for his Prius. For someone so savvy, his 911 call raises even more questions. The 911 operator repeatedly told Sikes to put his Prius into neutral during the more than 20 minute call, but he didn't act on her requests, and didn't try it. He said he was afraid it might slip into reverse. Ummm. No. Sorry. You'd need to have the IQ of pocket lint to believe any modern car could "slip into reverse" at 90mph. And even if it could (which it can't) it would certainly stop the car....

I suspect this is the tip of the iceberg - you just know that in a country where the number one method of getting rich quick is a lawsuit, that many of these reported stuck accelerator problems are simply people jumping on the bandwagon hoping for a quick payday.


Paul said...

And the latest is that the brake pedal was only lighly pressed. The guy's a fake and now everyone knows it.

But what is of more concern to me is that you admit to watching Fox!

Chris said...

It was on our local Fox news station which is far more tolerable than the cable news one. Plus the anchor is a complete hottie. Which if I'm honest is probably the main reason I watch :-)