RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And Toyota is disputing claims made by a man here in California, who says his Prius accelerated out of control on a San Diego freeway. Toyota stopped short of calling last week's incident a hoax. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, the company did fiercely defend its car.
CARRIE KAHN: At a press conference, Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said the carmaker's engineers thoroughly examined the Prius driven by James Sikes and found it to be working perfectly.
Mr. MIKE MICHELS (Spokesman, Toyota): Toyota believes there are significant inconsistencies between the account of the event of March 8th and the findings of this investigation.
KAHN: Last week, Sikes called 911 to say his car was speeding out of control. With the help of a highway patrol officer, he was able to stop the vehicle.
Toyota says during the 24-minute incident, Sikes never tried to put the car in neutral or turn off the ignition. Michels says if the gas pedal had been stuck as Sikes claimed, the car safety system would've immediately shut down the engine as soon as he stepped on the brake. Michels says that's what happened when Toyota investigators tested the car.
Mr. MICHELS: To say this incident was sensationalized would be an enormous understatement. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous, and investigations should be allowed to take their course.
KAHN: Federal regulators also said its investigators could not replicate the incident as described by Sikes. An attorney for Sikes says he will not comment until federal safety officials conclude their investigation.
Carrie Kahn, NPR News.
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