February 17, 2013
French Motorist’s Throttle Jams At 125 MPH
It started out as a normal weekend day for 36-year-old Frank Lecerf. He left his home in northern France to do some shopping at the local market. Not having any thought that he would make world news and end up in Belgium with the authorities as an escort.
He drives a Renault Laguna, which had been modified for disabled drivers. As he made his way north on the dual carriageway at 60 MPH, the vehicle’s speed control jammed and when he applied the brake the car accelerated instead of slowing down. Each time he tried the brake it went faster, until he reached 125 MPH.
The situation worsened, as other vehicles swerved and darted out of the way to avoid crashing with the ever-increasing speed of his vehicle. Even as scary as it must have been, he was able to contact the authorities, who immediately sent a squad of cars to clear the way to avoid a major accident. Three toll stations were along that stretch of highway and were warned beforehand to raise their barriers when the speeding convoy approached.
The ordeal began from his home in Pont-de-Metz, France, which is near the northern city of Amiens. It took him north on the carriageway through Calais and Dunkirk even crossing the border into Belgium before finally ending the frightening experience an hour later and close to 125 miles from his home. Fortunately he was able to maneuver the Renault into a ditch in Alveringem, Belgium when it finally ran out of gas.
During the crisis a Renault technician was on the phone with the police and tried to find a solution to the dilemma, but to no avail. The car just kept speeding up the road with no sign of rectifying itself.
“My life flashed before me,” he told the French newspaper Le Courrier Picard in an interview. “I just wanted it to stop.”
Lecerf had mentioned that this was not the first time the throttle had stuck. Renault looked at the car and assured him that the car was fine. A legal complaint has been filed by Lecerf, and his lawyer stated it would be an “endangerment of a person’s life” claim.
During the ordeal, Lecerf had two epileptic seizures, but was able to keep the car under control. He sustained no other injuries from the incident.