A Toyota executive said the company is “mystified” by a report that a California man’s Prius gas pedal became stuck and caused the car to speed out of control on a California freeway.
James Sikes quickly became the face of the Toyota gas pedal scandal after he called police to report losing control of his Prius on Monday. His car reached nerve-rattling speeds of 94 mph (150 kmph) before an officer helped bring it to a stop.
Federal investigators are looking into the incident, and Toyota officials said they have talked extensively to Sikes.
Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, said all Priuses are equipped with a computer system that cuts power to the wheels if the brake and gas pedals are depressed at the same time — something Sikes was doing. “It’s tough for us to say if we’re skeptical. I’m mystified in how it could happen with the brake override system,” he said.
He attributed the bulk of problematic Toyota acceleration reports to faulty floor mats that trap the gas pedal.