Issa: Beware of Toyota Driver "Ghost Reports"


Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said a California man's claim that his Toyota Prius sped out of control despite frantic attempts to slow the car could be false.

On the heels of a leaked government memo tied to the ongoing probe into the March 8 incident outside San Diego, Issa, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told CBS' "The Early Show" Monday that NHTSA and Toyota investigators have "figured out very little."

The 2008 Prius James Sikes, seen at left, drove last week allegedly hit 94 miles per hour as it roared along Interstate 8 near San Diego. Sikes said his gas pedal was stuck and that even standing on the brake wouldn't slow the car down, adding that he could smell his brakes burning. A patrol car caught up to him and the officer instructed him to pull the emergency brake and put the car in neutral, which slowed the vehicle to a stop.

Listen to an excerpt of the 911 call

You get a lot of "ghost reports," Issa said, when you have a widespread recall of automobiles.

It "doesn't mean it didn't happen," Issa said. "It doesn't mean it did happen," adding that some drivers do not always know how their car is supposed to operate.

In a statement Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it will continue its investigation, but "we may never know exactly what happened with this car."

According to the memo, first obtained by The Associated Press, "Every time the technician placed the gas pedal to the floor and the brake pedal to the floor the engine shut off and the car immediately started to slow down."

The memo added that a Toyota official, attending a two-day inspection last week outside San Diego, said an electric motor would "completely seize" if a system to shut off the gas when the brake is pressed fails, and there was no evidence to support that happened, the AP reported.

"In this case, knowing that we are able to push the car around the shop, it does not appear to be feasibly possible, both electronically and mechanically that his gas pedal was stuck to the floor and he was slamming on the brake at the same time," according to the memo.

Watch the full interview with Issa below:

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