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Sudden Acceleration: Runaway Prius in California

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 09, 2010 2:30 PM

You can add Prius to the list of Toyota's problem cars. Apparently, the Prius may now have also fallen victim to unintended acceleration problems. 

According to the California Highway Patrol, a Toyota Prius owned by James Sikes of San Diego  was headed eastbound on I-8 near San Diego on Monday, when the accelerator became stuck and the car began its unintended acceleration at speeds over 90 miles per hour.

The frightened owner called 9-1-1 and the CHP came to his help, blocking his car and shadowing him while talking him down from the acceleration problem. 

Although the Prius involved was one of the Prius models included in the recent floor mat recall, no Priuses were part of the recalls associated with the "sticky gas pedal."

Furthermore, Mr. Sikes reportedly tried to have his Prius taken care of after the floor mat recall, but was refused at his dealership. Toyota of El Cajon, California reportedly refused to take the car, citing that it was not on the recall list.

Now all eyes are on whether the Prius will become part of Toyota's larger "sudden acceleration" concerns.

The Prius in question is currently under investigation, as is the entire incident. Sikes spoke at a news conference about his ordeal, claiming that the sudden acceleration began after he pressed the pedal to pass another car. He claimed that he could smell the brakes burning.   

The runaway Prius incident took place a few hours after Toyota offered a demonstration to rebut arguments about the alleged electronic throttle defect which some have claimed causes the sudden acceleration.

The Prius incident now raises more questions about the extent of the recalls and on the liability of the dealership for not dealing with the initial floor mat recall.

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