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KANSAS CITY, MO. - An Ames woman whose accelerator got stuck as she drove up Interstate Highway 35 in Missouri managed to control the vehicle even as speeds topped 110 mph and she was forced to the median several times to avoid other drivers, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

Patrol spokesman Sheldon Lyon praised Lauri Ulvestad, 47, for not crashing her 2011 Kia Sorento as she weaved through traffic and aconstruction zone with no way to slow down.

"Not only to drive fast, but to go into the median, pull back up into the passing lane and hit that asphalt lip - and not overcorrect - it was really amazing to see her do that repeatedly," Lyon said.

Ulvestad was driving north on the interstate near Bethany, Mo., on Sunday when she realized her accelerator was stuck. Panicked, she called 911 and soon two state troopers caught up with her. One pulled in front of her to alert traffic ahead, while the other stayed behind her.

Lyon said the three cars covered 59 miles in 35 minutes before the woman's vehicle suddenly slowed and came to a stop on the inside shoulder near Osceola, Ia., about 40 miles north of the state line.

Ulvestad told KCCI-TV in Des Moines that as she passed Osceola she was told to lift up the accelerator and push on the brake.

"And so I did that, and it slammed me from 119 mph to like nothing," she said.

Lyon said Ulvestad had attempted everything the 911 operator - who was in constant contact with the Highway Patrol's headquarters in Jefferson City - told her to do, including trying to shift the vehicle into neutral. The vehicle had a "proximity key," Lyon said, which allows someone to start the car without a real key when they're close enough to it.

"There was some talk about if she threw the key fob out the window, would the car shut off," Lyon said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Kia Motors America Inc. issued a statement Friday afternoon saying it has inspected Ulvestad's vehicle but hasn't been able to identify the problem that caused her accelerator to stick.

"Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident. KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner," the company said.

Kia said it has provided Ulvestad with alternative transportation and is working with her to resolve the issue.

While he praised Ulvestad's driving and the efforts of the troopers, Lyon said he was disappointed in the drivers who stayed in the left lane of the interstate and didn't immediately move over when the patrol cars came up behind them.

"Every close call was caused by people who wouldn't get out of the way for the lights and sirens," he said. "They ended up with near misses several times."

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 481 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thank God shes ok and everyone elses ok thats what matters.
      Gcymru
      • 2 Years Ago
      Throw the car into neutral. Don't turn off the ignition as it locks the steering.
      • 2 Years Ago
      You people don't read; she was told to and tried to put the vehicle in neutral. Trying to sound like you have common sense when not even reading the article, please.
        Night Rider
        • 2 Years Ago
        I read the article "Patrolman Lyon said Ulvestad had attempted everything the 911 operator - who was in constant contact with the Highway Patrol's headquarters in Jefferson City - told her to do, including trying to shift the vehicle into neutral".....Then it goes on to say it has a proximity key.....The key just allows you to start the vehicle without being in it, then releasing it out of park. It has nothing to do with the transmission and shifting it into neutral. Honestly.....I think she just panicked. She should have been able to shift to neutral and let the engine blow
      superj
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm shocked that a Kia can even top 100 MPH, nevermind maintain it. Good thing it was a Kia and not another vehicle that might actually top 110.
      purerockfury
      • 2 Years Ago
      this is the result of allowing computers to control every aspect of a motor vehicle. what do expect to happen when your gas pedal is nothing more than a controller like when you play a video game. so how reliable can it really be? not very. once is too many times for an accident to occur from failure. you all keep relying on sensors and plastic and see how safe you are on the road. you people think your safe in these new cars, well your not. no matter how many crumple zones, airbags, plastic bumpers or seat belts you have you are no safer than if you drove an old cadillac, or any old car made of metal.
      charlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please people really, How many times is this going to happen before society gets it..... you have a few options in these situations. For one, stick your foot under the gas pedal and pull the pedal up from under the floor mat if that's the cause of the racing engine or Shift the transmission into neutral, the engine will rev very hi but will no be damaged. or Hold down the start button for five seconds as this will on most cars shut the engine off. If the vehicle uses a key just turn the key off but DO NOT REMOVE IT FROM THE IGNITION AS THE STEERING COULD LOCK IF YOU DO. With the engine off you will not have power steering but at speed you will not need it, you can still steer the vehicle. The power brakes will also be limited to two or three applications so do not pump the brake pedal, keep your foot on the brake pedal until you come to a complete stop. It took 59 miles for this woman to figure out what it should have taken FIVE SECONDS...She should have her license taken away. she could have killed someone. It's sad that she could call 911 with a cell phone in a speeding car for help but could not help her self.
        travler809
        • 2 Years Ago
        @charlie
        Not only did it take HER 59 miles, it said she was on the phone with 911 telling her what to do the whole time. I'm a woman, and even I would have known what to do. However, I must admit, I didn't know holding the start button for five seconds will shut off the engines on most cars. Thanks for the info! But I think next time I need to get somwhere quickly, I'm just going to get on the highway, hit the gas, and call 911. I'll get an escort to where I'm going and I'll get there in a lot less time. Hey, maybe she is smarter than we give her credit for and this was her intention all along! LOL
          • 2 Years Ago
          @travler809
          quit making that unfunny joke. it wasn't funny the first time and it's not funny the third
        tugsboat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @charlie
        most if not all cars now have a high rev governor such that you can't over rev the car. On my Benz it reves up 3500 4000 or so and just keeps revving up and down be never continues to go up sort of like pulsing up and down, but again never red lines!
      Sunroofs Etc
      • 2 Years Ago
      You can easily shift to neutral, and then pushing the Start / Stop button for the Smart Key system will shut off the vehicle. There is no reason to drive 59 miles @ over 100 mph........ the brakes will stop the vehicle if continually pressed hard until stopped. 911 operators should have better training.
        littiechief
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sunroofs Etc
        So what happens to your power brakes and steering when you shut your car off......should anyone do that at high speed? Just think that should be a major concern.
      HI ART AND NANCY
      • 2 Years Ago
      All she has to do is turn off the ignition key....... if not true please instruct me.
        mouse
        • 2 Years Ago
        @HI ART AND NANCY
        She had tried that., the stupid vehicle wouldn't accept her decision. It also couldn't be switched into neutral.
        BK
        • 2 Years Ago
        @HI ART AND NANCY
        Keyless ignition so no key to to turn off but there still should be some way to shut it down. Also dropping it into neutral should work, I've dropped a newer SUV doing 100+ into neutral before with no problems and just slowly braked to a stop...
        Bill & Annelle
        • 2 Years Ago
        @HI ART AND NANCY
        Everyone giving advice on here and calling people stupid (WHEN THEY ARE) should really read the article. THERE IS NO IGNITION KEY. THE KEY FOB only works to start the car! IT WOULD NOT GO INTO NEUTRAL. THE CRUISE CONTROL WAS NOT ON! DRIVER'S TRAINING WOULD NOT HELP THIS SITUATION. THE MOST STUPID WAS gttdux - UNDOUBTABLY, HE HAS NO KNOWEDGE OF THE NEWER CAR TECHNOLOGY OR LADIES' ABILITIES.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had this happen to me many years ago the motor mounts on my engine broke . I shut the ignition off. I had 1969 Chevy 2 door Impala. They fixed it and it happen again after they fixed it the 2nd time they chained the engine down. Imagine coming off a one lane ramp on 1-95 to heavy traffic . Somehow I manage not to hit anyone. I was scared to death.
      Lightning F2A
      • 2 Years Ago
      Floor mat.
      xfk
      • 2 Years Ago
      TURN THE CAR OFF !
      1 Evil Brat
      • 2 Years Ago
      One: Stay calm once you know the situation. Two: Place shifter in nutrual position, the engion will over speed. Three: Turn off ignition and break to side of road - hitting emergency flashers. Four: Get out of car, kiss the earth hello then faint - well flag a cop for help.
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