Dashcam footage shows BMW speeding on I-95 after gas pedal gets stuck

Dashcam footage shows an SUV speeding down Interstate 95 in Martin County after the driver claimed his gas pedal got stuck.

The driver, Joseph Cooper, called 911 Monday afternoon as Florida Highway Patrol troopers followed close behind in the northbound lanes, trying to flatten the tires of the BMW.

Authorities said the SUV reached speeds of nearly 100 mph during the ride.

“My gas pedal is stuck on my car and I’m on I-95,” Cooper told a 911 dispatcher. 

The dispatcher tried to help Cooper slow down the vehicle.

“Have you tried the emergency brake?” the dispatcher asked.
“Ma’am, I’m not pulling that doing 100 mph. I’m sorry,” he said.

The miles were flying by as Cooper made it into St. Lucie County, all while trying to not get into an accident.

Eventually, the sound of panic could be heard in his voice.

“Switching right lanes right now. Get out of the way! We’ve got troopers coming!” Cooper said.  

After nearly 50 miles of uncontrolled speeds, Cooper reached Indian River County. 

Troopers tried to put an end to the wild ride by deploying stop sticks with sharp spikes to flatten the tires. They had to make three attempts before all four of Cooper’s tires were flattened. 

The good news is that no one was injured. However, Cooper did complain of chest pains and was taken to a hospital.

He was released later in the day. 

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Toyota Super Bowl ad showcases flying car

Toyota is using the Super Bowl to showcase new and experimental motorized wheelchairs and other vehicles, including a futuristic flying car.

In a 30-second Super Bowl spot called “Mobility Anthem,” Toyota briefly shows a flying car, and it’s not just a “Blade Runner” special effect.

“The one we show in the ad is a prototype concept car that actually does work,” said Toyota Motor spokesman Russ Koble.

He said it’s a flying version of the company’s compact car prototype, called the i-Road.

The ad also shows a disabled basketball player in a motorized wheelchair called the Exo-Wheel, which the company is experimenting with as a prototype.

The ad also features a man using a motorized wheelchair, called the iBot, to walk down stairs. That’s a prototype that Toyota has been developing in partnership with a company called Deka. None of these are on the market yet, the company said.

The ad features people of different races, ages and abilities.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our team at Toyota to share messages of unity, friendship, diversity and perseverance,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president of Toyota Marketing for Toyota Motor North America, in a statement.

Mobility is the theme of the ad, which has a voiceover saying, “When we’re free to move, anything is possible.”

Toyota has three Super Bowl ads this year. The company uses that same slogan in a one-minute spot titled “Good Odds,” which tells the story of Lauren Woolstencroft, a Paralympic skier from Canada who has won ten medals, including eight gold.

The ad follows her progress from a baby born with stumps for legs and only one arm, to learning to walk, then learning to dance and ski with prosthetic limbs. The ad reveals at the end that she’s an athlete in the Paralympics.

“I hope that my story encourages and inspires others around the world to pursue their passions, and reach for their own personal best,” said Woolstencroft in a statement.

NBC is broadcasting the football game on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles and charging advertisers more than $5 million for 30-second spots.

The Paralympics take place from March 9 to 18, after the Winter Olympics, in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Diversity is also a central theme in Super Bowl ads coming from Coca-Cola, featuring an interracial couple in a spot inspired by the iconic “Hilltop” ad from 1971.

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Harley-Davidson says an electric hog is coming in 2019

Harley-Davidson, the American motorcycle manufacturer famous for its loud burbling, popping engine sounds, plans to release its first electric motorcycle within the next 18 months.

An electric motorcycle will, of course, not make burbling or popping noises. Instead it’s more likely to emit a whirring sound. Harley revealed a prototype electric bike in 2014, but never said when the electric bike would hit the market.

The news came Tuesday in Harley-Davidson’s annual financial report, which also laid out a plan to close the manufacturer’s Kansas City, Missouri, assembly plant. That plant currently employs about 800. Bikes built there will now be assembled at Harley’s York, Pennsylvania, plant where 450 jobs will be added.

Last year was a tough one for Harley-Davidson. Retail motorcycle sales declined by 6.7% globally and 8.5% in the United States.

A number of startup companies have already entered — or are getting ready to enter — the electric motorcycle business. Thanks to quick power delivery from electric motors, electric bikes promise to be fun. They should also be easier to use for new bikers, since electric motors don’t require a transmission, so riders won’t have have to learn how to shift gears.

Riding range will be a challenge for electric motorcycles, though, said Mark Hoyer, editor-in-chief of CycleWorld magazine. The range of most electric bikes is plenty for day-to-day use but won’t be enough for anyone who wants to take a long ride through the country.

He adds that what’s been missing from the electric motorcycle market is a bike that has the quality and feel experienced riders are looking for. Startup companies generally don’t have the experience and relationships with parts suppliers to provide that, he said. Having ridden the prototype bike, called Project Livewire, Hoyer said he expects Harley-Davidson will deliver a quality product.

“It’s going to be a no-excuses, exhilaration Harley-Davidson Motorcycle,” Harley-Davidson spokesman Michael Pflughoeft said of the new bike, which is still in development.

Like other Harley-Davidson bikes, the electric motorcycle will be a luxury product, but there is still no word on its price or what it will be called.

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Monkeys were used to test diesel fumes, German carmakers say

German automakers have confirmed that researchers they commissioned used monkeys to test the health effects of inhaling diesel fumes.

Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes, financed a 2014 study in which caged monkeys were reportedly forced to inhale fumes from a diesel Volkswagen.

The New York Times first reported on the study last week. The tests are also mentioned in the premier episode of the Netflix documentary series “Dirty Money.”

The study was reportedly part of an attempt to prove that new diesel engines were cleaner than their predecessors. The New York Times said the test vehicle was rigged to reduce emissions, part of a much bigger scandal that would later cost Volkswagen billions.

“We believe that the scientific methods used to conduct the study were wrong and that it would have been better not to undertake it at all,” Volkswagen said in a statement on Monday.

Volkswagen said the study was commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), an institute established by the three car makers and parts supplier Bosch.

Tests were conducted by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, which is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But the project was “not completed or published” before the EUGT was dissolved in June 2017.

The New York Times reported that monkeys were shown cartoons during the tests to help keep them calm.

Daimler said in a statement that it has launched an investigation.

“We are appalled by the nature and extent of the studies and their implementation. We condemn the experiments in the strongest terms,” the company said.

Daimler said, however, that all work commissioned with the EUGT was “accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes.”

Representatives from BMW were not immediately available for comment.

The German government condemned the tests.

‘These tests … are in no ethical way justifiable and they raise many critical questions about those who are behind the tests,” said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It’s the latest example of fallout from Volkswagen’s bombshell admission in 2015 that it had rigged millions of diesel cars worldwide to cheat on emissions tests.

U.S. prosecutors allege that its engineers knew as far back as 2006 that the company’s new 2.0 liter diesel engine would not be capable of complying with regulations.

Volkswagen, which owns Audi, Porsche, Skoda and SEAT, resorted to cheating, exposing the industry to charges that dirty diesel engines are to blame for air pollution problems in Europe.

The cars had software installed that strictly limited emissions when the cars were being tested, then dumped up to 40 times the allowable levels of some pollutants when on the road.

As of late 2017, dealing with the scandal had cost Volkswagen a total of $30 billion.

— Claudia Otto, Nadine Schmidt and Charles Capel contributed reporting.

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Ford Explorer investigated after owners complain SUV makes them sick

An federal investigation is underway after owners claim their Ford Explorers are making them sick.

USA Today reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating the SUV’s since 2016 after more than 1,300 Explorer owners reported feeling dizzy and nauseous because of the vehicle.

The Explorer model years being investigated are from 2011-2017.

According to the report, Ford says it has yet to find any problems, including carbon monoxide leaking into the cabin of the SUV’s.

“Explorers are safe,” Elizabeth Weingandt, Ford’s safety communications manager, told USA Today. “Ford’s investigation and extensive testing has not found carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day.”

The company said owners can bring their Explorers into a local dealer for a free service.

The report adds Ford has issued several bulletins in the past concerning exhaust odor, and acknowledged a carbon monoxide problem in vehicles sold to police departments.

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