Check out Mike’s article on Forbes,
Toyota Hybrid Horror Hoax
Exploring an overblown media frenzy.
Virtually every aspect of Sikes’s story as told to reporters makes no sense. His claim that he’d tried to yank up the accelerator could be falsified, with his help, in half a minute. And now we even have an explanation for why he’d pull such a stunt, beyond the all-American desire to have 15 minutes of fame (recall the “Balloon Boy Hoax” from October) and the aching need to be perceived as a victim.
The lack of skepticism from the beginning was stunning. I combed through haystacks of articles without producing such needles as the words “alleges” or “claims.” When Sikes said he brought his car to a Toyota ( TM – news – people ) dealer two weeks earlier, recall notice in hand, and they just turned him away, the media bought that, too. In Sikes We Trust. Then the pundits deluged us with a tsunami of an anti-Toyota sanctimony .
Where to begin?
Well, the patrol car didn’t slow down the Prius; the bumpers never touched. The officers used a loudspeaker to tell Sikes to use the brakes and emergency brake together. He did; the car slowed to about 55 mph. Sikes turned off the engine and coasted to a halt. He stopped the car on his own.
There wasn’t anything wrong with the transmission or the Prius engine button either.
Over a 23-minute period the 911 dispatcher repeatedly pleaded with Sikes to shift into neutral. He simply refused and then essentially stopped talking to her except to say that he thought he could smell his brakes burning.
“I thought about” shifting into neutral, Sikes said at a televised press conference the day after the incident. But “I had never played with this kind of a transmission, especially when you’re driving and I was actually afraid to do that.” Sikes, who has driven the car for two years, also said “I figured if I knocked it over [the gear knob] the car might flip.”
You must read the whole article.
As I said before, the government has a clear conflict of interest and now Toyota’s being scapegoated.