News Around the World

“My gas pedal is stuck!” BMW driver calls 911 as he barrels down interstate at nearly 100 mph

A BMW SUV tore down a Florida interstate for nearly 40 miles Monday, but the driver managed to keep his cool while authorities made attempts to stop him, telling a 911 dispatcher calmly “my gas pedal is stuck,” according to the Florida Highway Patrol and dramatic recordings.

The driver, Joseph Cooper, was alone in his SUV on I-95 near Vero Beach just before 1 p.m. when he lost control. Authorities helped control traffic as he careened as fast as 95 mph with flashers and a green strobe on.

Asked if he could shift to neutral, he told the dispatcher, “I can’t, ma’am, I tried that already. I’m trying to hold onto the wheel and talk to you at the same time.”

Authorities tossed out stop sticks twice, finally blowing out the right two tires, which slowed the car down to about 60 mph, the highway patrol said.

The car slowed to 40 mph, but Cooper was still unable to stop. “The vehicle was traveling on all 4 rims with no tire,” the highway patrol said.

Minutes later, video shows the SUV coming to a complete stop, and as smoke surrounds the vehicle, the driver exits to talk to authorities.

At that point Cooper had traveled more than 40 miles. Miraculously, no one was injured.

Lt. Alvaro Feola of the Florida Highway Patrol said Cooper made the right choices in the dangerous situation.

“He did call 911, he wore a seat belt, he kept the dispatch aware of the mile markers,” Feola said.

“Thank God in this situation nobody got hurt,” Feola added. “Traffic was maybe a little light, it wasn’t rush hour.”

BMW issued a statement that called the scenario “implausible” and said there were numerous ways in which the driver could have stopped the car.

 

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