A runaway BMW SUV tore down a Florida interstate for nearly 40 miles Monday, but the motorist managed to keep his cool while authorities made several attempts to stop him, telling a 911 dispatcher calmly “my gas pedal is stuck,” according to the Florida Highway Patrol and dramatic recordings.
In a statement a BMW spokesperson called the scenario “implausible” and said there were numerous ways in which the driver could have stopped the car. “We would be happy to work with the Florida State Police to investigate the cause of this incident,” the company added.
The driver, Joseph Cooper, was alone in his SUV on I-95 near Vero Beach just before 1 p.m. when he lost control, he told emergency dispatchers. Authorities helped control traffic as he careened as fast as 95 mph with a flashers and a green strobe on.
Asked if he could shift to neutral, he told the dispatcher, “I can’t, ma’am, I tried that already. I’m trying to hold onto the wheel and talk to you at the same time.”
He told the dispatcher he almost hit someone.
“Get out of the way!” he yelled, according to the recording.
When authorities tried to slow down the car using spiked stop sticks, Cooper avoided them, the highway patrol reported. The officials tossed out stop sticks again, blowing out the right two tires, which slowed the car down to about 60 mph, the highway patrol said.
Dashcam video released by the Fellsmere Police Department shows an officer deploying spike strips on the interstate in their third and final deployment of strips to try to stop the car. The BMW is seen going over the spike strips which hit the left two tires.