Teen Whose Accelerator Stuck Still Having Problems After Crash
ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – Flying down the highway at full-speed, flashing his hazard lights, 16-year-old Elez Lushaj dialed 911 last December.
“I’m stuck in my car. I can’t stop. I’m going 125 miles an hour,” he told an operator.
As the minutes passed, he begged her for help. “Please just do anything,” he said.
“I’m working on it. I promise I’m working on it,” she said.
The accelerator on his Hyndai Elantra, he said, had jammed, and nothing he did seemed to help.
“I cannot stop. The gas is stuck. I’ve tried pulling it up. I’ve tried hitting the brakes. I’ve tried the emergency brake,” he said.
“This is Rockwall County, we have a deputy behind you. We’re doing everything we can. We’re having trouble, though,” said the operator.
“It was moving. It was definitely moving. It was the fastest thing on the road,” said Rockwall County deputy Tim Williamson, who followed the teen as he veered off road and dodged traffic for almost an hour.
“There were a few curves… that I wasn’t sure he was gonna make,” said Williamson.
At such high speeds, he said, using spike strips would have been too risky.
“I was hoping he would run out of gas,” he admits.
Operators, meanwhile, struggled to find a solution, searching the Internet and even trying to call Hyundai dealerships.
“I’m looking online. I’m trying to find something ‘cause I really don’t know,” the operator told Lushaj.
The teen eventually took a hard swerve, flipping the car several times.
Emergency responders had to tear the roof off the car to get him out.
Over the phone, Lushaj recalled a “horrific” ordeal, and says his back and neck are still hurting.
A spokesperson for Hyundai, meanwhile, told CBS11 the company was just learning of the incident. He said the chances of a total system failure described in the 911 are highly unlikely.
“It is extremely unlikely there would be simultaneous and spontaneous failure of the braking, acceleration and transmission all at the same time. We have a never heard from the driver, his family nor their representatives and have not had a chance to inspect the car in order to determine what went on here. We would like to speak with the parties involved and take a look at the car. And we’d like to find out why this hadn’t come to our attention for almost three months.”
The National Traffic Safety Board, though, may be investigating. “The agency is aware of the incident, has been in contact with local law enforcement authorities, and is currently evaluating the available information to determine the appropriate course of action,” read a statement from the agency.