Runaway car - or teen prank?
RUNAWAY CAR - OR TEEN CON? The 2012 Hyundai Elantra in this still from a police camera shows the teenager, hazard lights on, on a freeway near Dallas, Texas. Image credit: WFAA
DALLAS, Texas - Texan teen Elez Lushaj claims a freak malfunction took him on a terrifying highway ride at close to 200km/h - but did it?
For almost 90 minutes, Lushaj said, he desperately begged emergency services for help on a highway near Dallas. Eventually, he crashed...
It happened in December 2012, according to the London Daily Mail, but, strangely, not the youth, his family or the police have raised the matter with Hyundai US.
Lushaj, 16, claims his 2012 Hyundai Elantra's accelerator jammed. As the car went faster and faster he called 911 for help - yet one of the Daily Mail images with its story, captioned "The youth calls for help..." is of the interior of a Mercedes...?
'THE GAS IS STUCK'
"I'm stuck in my car," he can be heard saying on an alleged police recording. "I can't stop. I'm going 200km/h. Please just do anything!"
The emergency operator replied: "I'm working on it. I promise I'm working on it."
Watch the video
Lushaj said he tried everything but couldn't get the car to slow. "The gas is stuck. I've tried pulling it up. I've tried hitting the brakes. I've tried the emergency brake."
The operator replied: "This is Rockwall County, we have a deputy behind you. We're doing everything we can. We're having trouble, though."
Lushaj made heart-stopping manoeuvres to stay on the road, even going on to the shoulder to avoid a truck, but the deputy couldn't find a safe way to stop him.
"It was the fastest thing on the road," the deputy said. "There were a few curves... I wasn't sure he was going to make it. I was hoping he would run out of fuel."
'NOBODY CALLED' - HYUNDAI
Eventually Lushaj swerved to avoid another truck, left the hardtop and rolled four times. An emergency crew had to rip off the car's roof to get to hm.
An Hyundai US spokesperson told CBS that chances of such a total system failure were almost non-existant. "It is extremely unlikely there would be simultaneous and spontaneous failure of the braking, acceleration and transmission all at the same time," he said. "We've never heard from the driver, his family or their representatives and have not had a chance to inspect the car.
"We would like to speak to the parties involved and take a look at the car. And we’d like to find out why this hasn’t come to our attention for almost three months."
The National Traffic Safety Board has yet to start an investigation.
Wheels24 asks: Anybody else out there think the kid was pulling a stunt, seeking attention or, having been seen speeding, decided to claim a "pedal stuck" defence that went horribly wrong? And we guess the Mail will eventually explain the Merc star on the steering wheel.
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