2011 Kia Sorento Unintended Acceleration Mishap Sends Woman To 120 MPH Across Iowa; Kia Investigates The "Isolated Incident"
2011 Kia Sorento Unintended Acceleration Mishap Sends Woman To 120 MPH Across Iowa; Kia Investigates The “Isolated Incident”
Unintended acceleration incidents are getting way out of hand. Sticking throttles came to the media forefront when Toyota suffered a very public mass recall from 2009-2010. In July, Ford Motor Co. heightened safety concerns when the automaker announced a throttle defect recall that affected 485,000 Ford Escape vehicles.
Last week, Lauri Ulvestad of Ames, Iowa, travelled along Missouri’s Interstate 35 in her 2011 Kia Sorento crossover when the vehicle suddenly suffered sudden unintended acceleration. According to an interview with KCCI-TV, 47-year-old Ulvestad barreled through traffic at speeds approaching 120 mph as she tried everything to stop the vehicle. Whether she turned off the keys, shifted the transmission out of drive, or slammed on the brakes, nothing managed to slow down her Kia crossover.
“I knew I was going to die,” Ulvestad told KCCI-TV. “I didn’t have any doubt about. I really thought I was going to die … and no matter what I did, I couldn’t slow it down.”
Ulvestad continued during her interview, “It was accelerating faster and faster. And I was looking at my GPS, and the number was going up and up and up. My foot isn’t even on the accelerator. The emergency brake is on all the way. I’m trying to move the brake, but it’s not working.”
Promptly dialing 911 during the ordeal, sheriff deputies and state troopers responded to Ulvestad’s distress immediately, providing traffic support so as to maximize fellow drivers’ awareness of the uncontrollable vehicle and to also allow authorities enough time to devise a strategy of safely disabling Ulvestad and the Kia.
After Lauri Ulvestad travelled a harrowing 59 miles in 35 minutes, KMBC.com reports that Ulvestad’s engine finally shuts down. Other media outlets reported that Ulvestad’s brakes regained function.
Whatever was the cause of the incident, Kia released a statement of Friday, “Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident. KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner.”
During a press conference, patrol spokesperson Sheldon Lyon gave praise to Ulvestad’s poise under pressure and for her ability to control the vehicle. “Not only to drive fast, but to go into the median, pull back up into the passing lane and hit that asphalt lip – and not overcorrect – it was really amazing to see her do that repeatedly.”
To understand just what Lyon is describing, make sure to check out the video footage of the incident, captured from a patrol vehicle dashcam, below.
On a final note, it’s certainly disturbing to see what seems like an increasing rate of unintended acceleration incidents that are no longer exclusive malfunctions to any particular automaker. As nearly all automobiles made today use electronic throttle controls, are more vehicles prone to dangerous accleration malfunctions?