Runaway car - or teen prank?

2013-02-27 11:05

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...?


"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."


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.

Make your point in an email  or use the Readers' Comments section below to air your thoughts.

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2013-02-27 12:29

    He was obvioulsy not in a Mercedes since he crashed in a Hyundai. I think the image in the Daily Mail is causing confusion and is probably an error on their part. To me the teens case seems legitimate. No one in their right mind would drive 200kmph for 180km on a traffic laden road without at least trying to apply the brakes in critical situations. It becomes instinct to slow down. It is quite obvious this guy could not stop the vehicle and therefore crashed. To say he is pulling a fast one is unreasonable. Late last year a lady could not stop her Kia SUV from accelerating but no one raised questions on whether she was trying to get off the hook for speeding. So why do we level this question at the teen?

      Don Odendaal - 2013-02-27 22:30

      still say switch of ignition put into neutral car will stop

  • riotousr - 2013-02-28 09:47

    @Don "still say switch of ignition put into neutral car will stop?" Not a in a keyless entry Renault. The engine will not stop. And some of us do not know that you have to press the STOP/START button ten times to bring the engine to halt.

  • ctbully - 2013-02-28 10:45

    Did anyone think of switching off the ignition DUH !

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