Some may call it a miracle that 16-year-old Elez Lushaj is alive today. In December, Lushaj called 911 in a panic: his 2011 Hyundai Elantra would apparently not stop accelerating. Despite guidance and advice from emergency operators, Lushaj moved at speeds of over 100 miles per hour for nearly 120 miles. The teen claimed that nothing he did would slow the car down; it was out of his control. Lushaj handled the vehicle extremely well, navigating in and out of the shoulder to avoid hitting other cars and obstacles. The video footage is both impressive and terrifying.
The teen eventually hit a semi truck and rolled five times before crashing. He was alert when officers rushed to get him out of the car, and the injuries he suffered were minimal considering the impact of the crash.
Now, Hyundai is suspicious of Lushaj and his story. Their Public Relations Manager wrote in an emailed statement to ABC News, “It is extremely unlikely there would be simultaneous and spontaneous failure of the braking, acceleration and transmission all at the same time.” While they say they would like to speak to Lushaj and his family and see the car, they are suspicious as to “why this hadn’t come to our attention for almost three months.” Lushaj has reportedly hired an attorney.
Would you know what to do if your brakes went out? SafeMotorist.com, presented by the American Safety Council, recommends taking the following steps:
1. Once you notice the brake failure, quickly pump your brakes to try and use any residual pressure in the brakes.
2. Take your foot off the gas pedal; try shifting to a lower gear. Let wind resistance and drive train friction slow your vehicle down.
3. Use your emergency brake if possible to control the brakes. If you have an emergency brake handle, keep the button on the end pressed down so the wheels will not lock up. If you do not know how to use your emergency brake, consult your owner’s manual.
4. Look for something to rub against. A fence, a guardrail, or bushes would work. Try to pick something that will give way when you hit against it to reduce damage to the car and to you.
Once the car is stopped, do not drive it again until the brakes are fixed.