Last Monday Jim Sikes came to a stop after his Prius went on a 90 mph joy ride down California highways. He claims that his Prius's acceleration was unintentional.  (Source:

Jim Sikes has had financial problems over the last few years and is retaining an attorney. Early investigation is revealing inconsistencies in Mr. Sikes' story, raising questions over whether the incident was faked.  (Source:
Jim Sikes' wild story of unintentional acceleration has been brought into question

Was Jim Sikes' wild runaway Prius adventure a scam? The investigation of the alleged unintended acceleration of Mr. Sikes' 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle, which blasted by California motorists last Monday is ongoing, but evidence is mounting that Sikes may have faked the incident.  Sikes filed bankruptcy two years ago, with over $700,000 in debt.

While Sikes claims that he is seeking no money from Toyota, he's been attracting big attention with press conferences and has retained a lawyer, John Gomez.  And according to The Detroit News, officials with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  and Toyota investigators were unable to replicate the incident while driving the 2008 Prius at high speeds and accelerating up and down.

Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which is investigating Toyota, stated, "These findings certainly raise new questions surrounding the veracity of the sequence of events that has been reported by Mr. Sykes. In the course of this investigation, we have seen what can happen when people take liberty with facts and mischaracterize information."

A draft memo from Toyota and NHTSA investigators state, "On our test drive, the field technician tried to duplicate the same experience that Mr. Sikes experienced. After about 2 hours of driving he was unsuccessful."

David Jusko, a Toyota Motor Sales USA employee and expert on hybrids says such acceleration is mechanically impossible.  He states, "So, in this case, knowing that we are able to push the car around the shop, it does not appear to be feasibly possible, both electronically and mechanically that his gas pedal was stuck to the floor and he was slamming on the brake at the same time."

The 2008 Prius is designed to override all commands and stop when the brake pedal and gas pedal are both fully pressed.  Failing to do so would result in the car seizing, say experts at Toyota.  Also, Mr. Sikes should have been able to put the car into neutral and coast to a stop.  Reports have conflicted over whether Mr. Sikes claims to have tried such a maneuver.

The report did note that the brakes were very worn, commenting, "Visually checking the brake pads and rotor it was clearly visible that there was nothing left."

However, the wear wasn't consistent with the brakes being applied at full force for a long period, The Wall Street Journal wrote Saturday, citing three people familiar with the probe.

Sikes, meanwhile, claims he is an innocent victim of a defective product.  He says that his family has suffered since the incident, receiving death threats.  States Mrs. Sikes, "We're just fed up with all of it. Our careers are ruined and life is just not good anymore."

Even if the incident was found to be a scam, it leaves many unanswered questions for Toyota.  In total, the company has recalled 8.5 million vehicles.  The NHTSA has received 3,300 complaints and allegations of 52 deaths linked to Toyota vehicles since 2000.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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