March 9th, 2010
05:27 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Prius Gone Wild

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The California Highway Patrol has released the 911 call from a driver in a runaway Toyota Prius. The terrifying incident happened yesterday on a San Diego freeway. Tonight you'll hear the frantic call for help and you'll hear from the man who was at the wheel as his 2008 Prius reached speeds of over 90 miles per hour.

"I wont drive that car again," Jim Sikes' told CNN's Ted Rowlands. Both federal officials and Toyota are investigating the incident.

You may be wondering why he didn't shift into neutral. You'll hear his explanation.

We are also following the strange saga of Eric Massa, who resigned from Congress today. A lot of questions surround the decision by the upstate New York politician. There's talk of cancer, inappropriate language, a ticklefight and even a visit from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the shower. Like I said, the strange saga of Erica Massa. We'll have the raw politics.

Plus, the dark secret of Bachelor Number One from "The Dating Game." Rodney Alcala, now 66, is a convicted serial killer. He was sentenced tonight in California. We'll give you the jury's decision.

Also tonight, two brothers who met the same deadly fate on the streets of Hollenbeck. Their mother shares her anguish as the LAPD searches for the killers. That's part of our special series "Homicide in Hollenbeck."

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. AmazedinAtlanta

    I agree with the last comment by thelastredshirt and feel compelled to add...why was his comment NO to the 911 operator when she asked if he had tried to put it in neutral? How stupid do people have to be here? Learn how your car works and nobody has to careen out of control on the highway or worse, die in a wreck because of this problem.

    Move the big lever out of "D", that's DRIVE for the folks that don't get it, and move it to "N", that NEUTRAL" for the same crowd, and pull over to the side of the road and let the car rev until it dies. Enough said, but more folks will get into this situation and do the same stupid crap, call 911 while they are racing down the road. This MENSA member in the article had the ability to make a call, but not actually try to stop his car? (his words, as he mentioned going 94 miles an hour and not being able to do anything else....except he was able to use the phone, ummmm okay, almost too amazing for words)

    I'm curious, what exactly are the people on the line going to do to help you in that instant? Save your own life by learning how that automobile of yours works and get off the phone while you're at it. Too many stupid drivers on the roads and this article only highlights that fact. Some people need to stick to public transit, in my opinion.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  2. Tim Gibson

    Not only should he not drive "that car" again, he should never drive another car period. Anyone who does not have the common sense to put the machine into neutral is not someone I wish to share the road with.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  3. Del

    Based on the fact that Mr. Sikes did not put the car in neutral or kill the ignition, I believe it's possible he called 911 AFTER he realized a Trooper saw him clipping along at 90 mph.
    I agree with RCE I further believe a thorough inspection of the vehicle will show no problem.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:30 am |
  4. Richard L

    Certainly it was terrifying for him, but he should not have panicked like he did. The 911 operator told him 2 different things to do that would stop the runaway and he wouldn't listen. The car can try to do 90 with no problem at all if it is in neutral like the operator told him. It is also impossible for the car to go 90 mph with the ignition shut off. The problem is bad, but people need to think under pressure to save their own lives.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:17 am |
  5. paulo

    I suspect this guy has given a bogus story. Let's see what pans out.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:47 am |
  6. Regena

    Thinking outside the box... I wonder if anyone in Toyota has thought about the possibility that their computer chip(s) are the problem since the accelerator "takes over" . The brake system was changed and works with the computer, or brain, of the car. Could the main computer or individual chips be programmed incorrectly or perhaps purposely sabotaged? It seems extremely odd that these types of incidents are random. For the sake of their company and the safety of the people driving these vehicles, I certainly hope that Toyota will get this problem solved soon.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:01 am |
  7. matthew

    Come on how stupid can this man get he could have turned the car off and I know he says he thought the wheels would lock up , serious you can put car in reverse and it will disable trans, doing nothing to the wheels, has anyone heard of the wheels locking up when their car stalls everyone has ran out of gas or just had the car shut off while driving down the road , it coasts to a stop. the most obvious thing to do is put car in neutral , oh he said he didn't want to take hand off steering wheel , well what's more dangerous driving 90 mph and swerving in and out of traffic or taking one hand off wheel for 5 seconds and putting in in neutral ,sound like this guy wanted so tv time , he should get a speeding and wreckless driving ticket

    March 10, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  8. Barbara Williams

    I just watched the story on the runaway Prius. When I was 16, the accelerator on the car I was driving became stuck after I floored it to pass a car (similar to what this man described). It certainly scared me for a few minutes and then I figured out that I could turn the car off. I turned the car off and coasted to a stop. Unfortunately, cars today are more complex and the man was afraid to do what I figured out on my own as a 16 year old teenage girl with few mechanical skills.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  9. Jim

    Toyota had better return to the K.I.S.S. Method-Keep It Simple Stupid !
    Right now you couldn't give me a Toyota even if you threw in Gas for the rest of my life,Insurance the rest of my life.I'll stick with my 1974 Chevy Thank You.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  10. Jason Devore

    A prius has a black box like feature so Toyota can get a read out of what speeds that car has done and when it was! So he could be busted!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    Don't get behind the wheel until you know how to put the vehicle in neutral.

    In this kind of situation, avoid turning off the ignition, which may disengage power steering. If you do turn it off, don't turn it all the way, or you may lock your steering column - the last thing you want to happen.

    March 9, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  12. thelastredshirt

    I wonder if the Prius had a defective CTS pedal or a Denso pedal...

    Should've thrown it in neutral.

    March 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  13. RCE

    "Moving Forward"......At 81 MPH!

    The guy can make a cell call but can't put the car in neutral? Something not quite right here, if both hands on the wheel how did he make the call?

    March 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  14. tellimahoo

    It's incredible that the largest industry in the world has been placed under the microscope, and then left for the wolves to devour. If it were'nt for the Bailouts and subsequent restructuring of the manufacturing sector, I don't believe this would be happening to Toyota. What I mean is that it seems to be obvious when America finds itself in need of an Monopoly, it gets it! Thanks

    March 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  15. Annie Kate

    The Prius incident is terrifying; to suddenly not have control of your car. I wouldn't drive that car anymore either like the owner said – not worth the risk! Maybe Toyota will give him a new car without that feature.

    If the two sons are the same ones that Anderson told us about in the original Hollenbeck show, the story was just heartbreaking. I cannot even fathom the depth of her anguish in losing 2 sons to this gang violence. Children are suppose to bury their parents; not the other way around. I'm looking forward to tonight's show. See you then.

    March 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm |