jamessikes.jpg
Sikes said he lost control of his car. He's definitely lost control of his story.
James Sikes first made headlines last week when he told

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James Sikes, Runaway Prius Owner, Is a Fake, Says Car Blog

jamessikes.jpg
Sikes said he lost control of his car. He's definitely lost control of his story.
James Sikes first made headlines last week when he told the gripping story of his Runaway Prius, a Wheezlebub with a mind of its own that accelerated to 94 MPH on a California highway despite Sikes's attempts to stop it.

Since then, Sikes has been given the journalistic equivalent of a diagnostic check. And gearhead blog Jalopnik says the wheels may be coming off of his story.

First it was revealed that Sikes had had filed for bankruptcy and owed Toyota $20,000 for his car. Then it came out that he was the owner of a swingers web site, and had earned and lost a small fortune making shady real estate deals during the housing boom.

Now, Jalopnik says that neither Toyota nor government officials were able to recreate the runaway-car scenario he says nearly cost him his life.

In other words, Sikes is probably lying.

Jalopnik's info comes thanks to the draft of a memo prepared for members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. It reveals that investigators tried to duplicate the unintended acceleration Sikes says caused him to lose control of his car. They couldn't.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that the break wear patterns on Sikes's car aren't consistent with what you'd see if a man claimed, as did Sikes, that he was standing on the pedal with both feet, trying to get the car to stop.

It is still possible Sikes is telling the truth. Given Toyota's initially patronizing and dismissive attitude towards customers who experienced unintended acceleration, its ceded much of the benefit of the doubt. But the more we learn about Sikes, the harder it is to believe that he's a victim, rather than a guy who took a wrong turn hoping it might be a shortcut.

 
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