When James Sikes called 911 last week saying his Toyota Prius was going 90 MPH and he couldn’t stop it, he created a national uproar and yet another Toyota related panic and making everyone wonder why this was happening again. Specifically people were asking why it was happening to a Prius which has not been part of any recent recall. Now Toyota and Government highway safety inspectors are saying they doubt James Sikes story, and now he is under suspicion as well.
One of the clues unraveling his fishy story is that Sikes was told by the 911 operator to put his Prius into neutral and turn off the ignition. He did not, saying first that he was unfamiliar with this new kind of gear shift (a shift which is like many others, and one he should have been very familiar with since he had owned it for three years.) Skies said in another interview that since he was going around sharp curves he didn’t want to lose control of the car, preferring a state troopers help instead.
Sikes called 911 on Monday to report that his gas pedal was stuck and his blue 2008 Prius was speeding at 94 mph down a freeway near San Diego. A CHP officer helped bring the car to a stop, but not before two calls to police dispatchers that spanned 23 minutes.
Asked why he didn’t simply put his car in neutral, Sikes said: “You had to be there. I might go into reverse. I didn’t know if the care would flip. I had no idea how it would react.”
Since everyone who drives knows that downshifting or shifting into neutral will immediately slow and then stop a car, it seems odd that Sikes preferred to let the incident drag on for almost a half hour without trying the most obvious and simple maneuver to slow down his car.
So, if he is lying, why would Sikes tell such a lie? New facts are emerging that make us doubt this story:
— Sikes filed for bankruptcy in San Diego in 2008. According to documents, he was more than $700,000 in debt and owed roughly $19,000 on his Prius;
— In 2001, Sikes filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a digital video camera and equipment and $24,000 in cash;
— Sikes has hired a law firm, though it has indicated he has no plans to sue Toyota
— Sikes won $55,000 on television’s “The Big Spin” in 2006, Fox40.com reports, and the real estate agent has boasted of celebrity clients such as Constance Ramos of “Extreme Home Makeover.”
— A search of California Business Records shows the company Adutlswinglife LLC is owned by a Mr. James Sikes of Carlsbad, California. The company operates the website AdultSwingLife.com (NSFW), which advertises that it supports “The Adult lifestyle, wife swapping, hook-up, Swinger clubs, adult social club, booty call, Friends with Benefits, NASCA” with webchats, message boards and other services.
Wife swapping, huge debts and a desperate call to 911? Sounds like the plot for a new reality TV show.