• 71
In reality, the California Highway Patrol isn't taking sides with anyone regarding the recent speeding Prius of Jim Sikes. But the CHP doesn't see any reason to doubt Sikes' version of events that led to his hybrid reaching speeds of around 90 miles per hour, apparently unable to bring the barreling vehicle to a stop. Also of note is the fact that a Border Patrol agent had also responded and was leading the Prius with its emergency lights on when the CHP officer arrived.

The officer that responded to the scene states that he "could see the driver sat up off his seat indicating that he was possibly applying the brake pedal with his body weight... His back was arched and both hands were pulling at the steering wheel." A short time later, the officer positioned his patrol car in front of Sikes' Prius when he "noticed that the Prius' speed had dropped dramatically" before coming to a complete stop on the highway. According to Sikes, this happened after he applied both the standard and parking brakes.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and found that "Sikes' blood pressure and pulse rate were very high." Another interesting tidbit is the the officer encouraged Sikes to speak with the media, despite the fact that the driver indicated he preferred not to. Later at the station, the officer took a statement from Sikes, who described his Prius as 'feeling funny' under braking, saying that the "whole car was shaking and vibrating" when the brakes were applied.

Sikes also claims to have manually pulled up on the gas pedal three separate times with no effect, and he was afraid that shutting the car off would cause the steering to lock up. The officer reports seeing the car's brake lights on and off intermittently, smelling the scent of worn brakes and seeing that the pads were worn completely down after the event.

CHP spokesman Brian Pennings has said that it is the CHP's position that no evidence has emerged to doubt Sikes' version of events. See the CHP officer's complete report in our image gallery below. For a slightly different view, click here and here to see what Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found after inspecting Sikes' Prius.

[Source: California Highway Patrol, USA Today]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Government agency supporting a witch hunt against Toyota to save government motors, not really supirising.
      • 5 Years Ago
      looks like con m(e)n are at play here, Sikes and the officer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has anyone ever pulled up on the E-brake while moving at speed before?
      One time in our Volvo when I was a kid I was asking my dad if you could stop the car with the e-brake, and while driving he pulled it up and it did virtually nothing, this was at about 40 mph and the car was fairly new.
      Fast forward to present day and I have a 2008 MINI Cooper S. Finding out myself, that the E-brake does nothing while moving at any kind of speed. the tires do not lock up and barely any resistance is applied. I found this out when I was trying to have fun in the empty parking lots and do some "J" turns. It' just didn't work like I had thought it would, I also always assumed that it would lock up the rear wheels and be able to just pivot around the front end but alas no.
      Cooper S a pretty darn good drivers car.
      Prius a pretty $hitty drivers car. what makes you think the E-brake in a prius would be any better than a MINI?

      And also as a lot of other people have stated, The override system will not engage unless the brakes are fully applied. all he had to do was ride the brakes lightly under WOT for an extended period of time and wear them down to nothing.
      Ever drive down Mt Washington? your riding your brakes the whole way down and you NEED to stop at the rest stops to cool them off or they will fail, and your usually going a lot slower down the Mt. then 90..... unless your a prius of course :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yea, you can still move a car with the e-brake on. My brother did it for an entire 10 minute drive once. The idiot must have had the stereo up real loud, because I could hear him coming, and then his friend jumped out of the car because he thought it was on fire (from the awful burning smell).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is CHP just embarrassed to admit that they helped out a faker?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This story has and always will be complete BS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just want to know how come, suddenly, Toyota has Black Box data when it couldn't find any before.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the BB data has always been there. it is the availability of the computer/software to read the black box data that hasn't been there. up until now there has only been one source in America to view this data. And the black box data is only relevant AFTER air bags deploy, i.e. after a crash, not a fake runaway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because Toyota is clearly full of sh!t and has known for a long time that there is a possible problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You must not be very smart because common sense will tell you to watch videos of the prius with the engine turned off and it will show you the steering wheel does not lock on a roll.

      Guess you forgot that model CAN go to neutral when going over 55 mph.

      Sounds like you blown something else.

      But incase you think you didn't, heres a video of the same model prius:

      • 5 Years Ago
      Later at the station, the officer took a statement from Sikes, who described his Prius as 'feeling funny' under braking, saying that the "whole car was shaking and vibrating" when the brakes were applied.


      Hmmm - I have a relative (by marriage) who owns a Prius (solely for the HOV benefit; other car is an Escalade ESV) - and when the brakes are applied, the Prius shakes and vibrates.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "A short time later, the officer positioned his patrol car in front of Sikes' Prius when he "noticed that the Prius' speed had dropped dramatically"

      This is very suspicious, or an unfortunate coincidence.

      He could've been standing on his heels while riding both gas and brake pedals, and when he saw that he was about to crash into the patrol car, and risk losing stability at high speed (and potentially die), he just had to slow down.

      He could be telling the truth, but that police statement just made me more skeptical.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ew. prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        and people complain that Toyotas don't raise your pulse or cause excitement... but I kid, I kid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I once owned a VW that would just stop for no apparent reason. It was taken to every dealer available for review. On a hot August day it happened shortly after leaving a freeway. On a sidestreet with little traffic I looked under the hood blessed my soul, sort of, and checked for gas in the tank, visible in the glass filter bowl, and took off the air filter. Tried to start again, not. Took off a spark plug wire and cranked it again while holding the bare wire in my hand. No shock. Let the car cool down, drove to the nearest auto supply store, put on a new ignition coil, and it was fixed for another fifty thousand miles of Texas summers. I have not followed the Toyota problems very closely, however, since electrical/electronics have become so pervasive in automobile design, it might be possible that higher than normal temperatures might affect some part of the sophistocated electronics. It could never be duplicated in a shop or dealership, as my air-cooled VW bug was not. Since that time I had other problems with a Pontiac starter solenoid that were fixed with parts replaced by myself after more than one dealer replaced starters, voltage regulators, or alternators. Also something similar on a Ford stationwagon. The recent Prius incident in the news was on a California freeway. Was the police officer and his family who died with him on vacation in California, on a hot day on a California freeway?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Temperature extremes are unlikely to affect electronic control processors as most are rated to handle up to 105C and higher normally. Consumer electronics are designed to operate a least from 40C to 85C. Some high quality components can operate at even higher temperatures. Automotive components are also feature wide range voltage operations to handle battery droop and fluctuations.

        Car control electronics are not very power hungry compared to computers that require active cooling. If any part of the car's electronic system dissipated to much power like a solid state power amp/reg/switch it would likely be mounted in a large heat-sink and placed in a location with airflow. These high power components are not required for safety and normally are not involved in control signaling (low power small signals)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just as in Balloon Boy Ver 1.0, the cops initially said they suspected nothing as well. Admitting they were fooled is embarrassing, and failing conclusive evidence to the contrary, they prefer to maintain that nobody fooled them, until it becomes impossible to maintain that brave contention. In Balloon Boy Ver. 2.0, there is no conclusive evidence, no interview slip up with a young boy, and nothing to connect the main characters to previous attempts to appear on reality TV, so the police will be successful in their stand to maintain nobody got the better of them in an attempt to enrich themselves.

      The principle is called plausible deniability.
    • Load More Comments