Questions Raised About Validity Of Runaway Prius Claim

03.15.10 | FL News Team

Questions are being raised about whether a Toyota Prius really did accelerate out of control near San Diego recently. The "Wall Street Journal" reports inspections have determined the vehicle's brakes show no signs they'd been used heavily to counteract a stuck throttle. The "Journal" quotes three people close to the probe as saying investigators from the federal government and from Toyota couldn't find any indication the brakes had been applied at full force at high speeds over a sustained period of time.

 What they did reportedly find was a friction pattern that suggested a driver had intermittently applied moderate pressure on the brakes. The finding raises questions about the sequence of events reported by 61-year-old James Sikes. The real estate agent claims his Prius sped out of control, hitting speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. He said the vehicle only stopped after a CHP officer used the loudspeaker in his patrol car to relay instructions for turning off the engine.

 Government officials aren't commenting on the inspection of the Prius. A Toyota spokesman, Mike Michels, said the company will release technical findings very soon. He declined any comment about the vehicle's brakes. The California Highway Patrol says the technology used in the Prius pulls back on the accelerator when the brake is applied.