Woman's Kia Sorento Gas Pedal gets Stuck Sending her on a 120mph Horror Ride


Given the sticky situation she was in, Lauri Ulvestad of Ames, Iowa, should consider herself extremely lucky for making it out alive when the accelerator pedal of her 2011 Kia Sorento crossover got jammed as she was driving up Interstate 35 in Missouri last week.

The 47-year old woman told KCCI-TV in Des Moines that she tried everything from turning off the key, to shifting out of drive and slamming on the brakes, but nothing worked.

"I knew I was going to die," said Ulvestad. "I didn't have any doubt about. I really thought I was going to die ... and no matter what I did, I couldn't slow it down."

Her only option was to call 911 and ask for help. The sheriff's deputies and state troopers responded immediately attempted to shift traffic in her path as the woman tried to avoid other vehicles in front of her while reaching speeds of up 120mph (193 km/h).

"It was accelerating faster and faster. And I was looking at my GPS, and the number was going up and up and up," she said. "My foot isn't even on the accelerator. The emergency brake is on all the way. I'm trying to move the brake, but it's not working."

After a terrifying 59 miles (94 kilometers) and 35 minutes, the woman managed to release the accelerator and hit the brake and finally come to a stop ending the wild ride.

Patrol spokesperson Sheldon Lyon gave praise to the woman for the way she handled the situation.

"Not only to drive fast, but to go into the median, pull back up into the passing lane and hit that asphalt lip — and not overcorrect — it was really amazing to see her do that repeatedly," Lyon told CBS News.

However, Lyon pointed out that he was also disappointed at some drivers who stayed on the left lane of the interstate and didn't move over immediately even when approached by the police cars.

"Every close call was caused by people who wouldn't get out of the way for the lights and sirens," said Lyons. "They ended up with near misses several times."

Kia said that it is looking into the incident and plans to release a statement.

If you follow the break, you'll find video footage of the incident filmed by the dash-cam of the patrol vehicle.



wys said... »August 27, 2012

Poor woman, but glad that she got out ok - just out of curiosity, what caused this? 'turning off the key, to shifting out of drive and slamming on the brakes' didn't even work?!

Read You Owners Manual said... »August 27, 2012

Was her floor mat obstructing the gas pedal? Amazing how many people never read their owners manual on how to stop their in vehicle the event of an emergency.

Anonymous said... »August 27, 2012

Can't she just shift to neutral and slam on the brake and let the car loose the momentum? Hadn't she learnt how to operate a car? Doesn't she know what neutral gear mean?

Hmmm said... »August 27, 2012

so does she get a speeding ticket ?

Lchicky22 said... »August 27, 2012

Seriously? Who wrote this? Brake you fool. Not break.

DuDE said... »August 27, 2012

Please close your eyes at 0:33 - 0:44.

cpardy said... »August 27, 2012

I call BS on this one. Understanding and knowing automotive mechanics proves that she did not try ANY of the things she stated. Pulling the "Parking" (Not Emergency) brake will cause your vehicle to go out of controll, ONLY stopping your REAR breaks (thats how they are designed), which would lock up your brakes at higher speeds. There was no attempt to shift into neutral or even park, which WILL slow your car down MECHANICALLY. It is not possible for a car to continue if the motor is not mechanically engaged to the drive train. Neutral will naturally slow your car down because there is NO contact from the motor to the drive train. Throwing the car into park at those speeds will destroy the transmission, either locking up the tires and slowing down the vehicle, or freeing up the transmission making it act like it is in neutral. The other thing I look at is the way that she was able to handle the vehicle. Oh how miraculous it was! Right, anyone who can control a vehicle like that in those circumstances KNOWS how to control a vehicle. A scared person easily makes mistakes because of their emotions. Just look at how smoothly she darts in and out. Now the question I have is HOW was she able to bring the vehicle to park? Oh btw make sure your hand isn't constantly holsing your cruise control button on, and your mat isn't holding your accelerator down. She Definately SHOULD BE CHARGED. License revoked for endangering people. And be taught How to drive a car properly.

romperstomper94 said... »August 27, 2012

So she never thought to lift the gast pedal with her foot; which is what 911 told her to do and it worked,. or turn the key off?  my gas got stuck from carpet sliding under the pedal and i just shut it off.

Skats6 said... »August 27, 2012

This story is complete bullsh*t. Putting the Sorento in N will sever any mechanical connection between the engine and the drive system. Not to mention blow the engine.    

Nicholas Isola said... »August 27, 2012

 It sounds fishy to me.

Angriannie42 said... »August 27, 2012

A Kia can go that fast?

Brklncrew said... »August 27, 2012

where are the brake lights?????     did she really actually try to stop?   

Steven Brown said... »August 27, 2012

The braking power of passenger vehicles is roughly three times the drive output, she should have been easily able to slow the car down.  If that hadn't worked, shifting into neutral would have been easy too.  If she was too panicked do do those simple things, it's odd that she managed to operate her cell phone to get into contact with the police.  Her brake lights weren't on most of the time in the dashcam footage.  Also, the fact this happened on an open freeway and not in traffic also seems a bit coincidental.

I'm very, very skeptical that this incident happened the way she said it did.

Peter said... »August 27, 2012


press the clutch?
shift to neutral?
turn of engine?
push the brakes?

i dont get how this can happen

Brklncrew said... »August 27, 2012

hmmmm question that car has Bluetooth standard... y was she on the  hand held phone when she get out of the car ???.I know that she said she tried everything...  applying the break... would be helpful... I seen NO BREAK LIGHTS till the end..hmmmm    and why wouldn't neutral work?   lets just say if it is push button start and it wouldn't turn off or change gears??   To override the ignition for emergency shut off or turn on.... you put the key fob in the ignition override slot in the arm rest and turn the car off.... ITS in the manual...    
  however, she did a great job keeping control of the car and the despite everything car actually handled great .. not many cars could have done that...  it is going to be interesting to hear what kia has to say..  and was there something on the floor besides the floor mat obstructing the pedal ..  all cars have recalls lets see what comes of this....   hmmmm?  not sure what to think of this yet

cpardy said... »August 27, 2012

Where did my first comment go from this morning?? Complete BS! Btw where is the Speed limiter set on a Sorrento? Every car has one now a days set by the factory. Good call guys on the brakes, doesn't look like she tried to touch them at all.

Heart of oak said... »August 27, 2012

Yet another 'unintended acceleration' incident.Yet another women driver.

aaronbbrown said... »August 27, 2012

I call shenanigans on this BS.  So she is able to operate her phone and operate her GPS, but she can't operate the car she was driving. As far as I know, no auto manufacturer has some kind of built-in lockout system that makes the brakes not work, makes the driver unable to turn the key off, makes the gear shift lever unable to be moved into neutral.  Or she's so panicked that she didn't think to try any of these things, and the dispatcher who's on the phone with her, it didn't suggest any of these things, yet right.

 This is one of these ' religious' people who puts their faith in superstitious nonsense like angels in their car, who has turned herself into a media sensation with this theater, 60 miles at wide open throttle through traffic with no breaks, yeah right.

 What's more disturbing is the police and the media who buy into this crap. So I take it they investigated the car and found the brakes didn't work, the gear shift lever was faulty, and the ignition key was locked into position. Let's see this evidence, let's see the auto technicians report from the police department that backs up her claims.

 Until I see the evidence of all these multiple catastrophic failures, I remain skeptical.

Duhhhhhhhh said... »August 27, 2012

I don't think this has ever happened when a man is driving....wonder why.

klowik said... »August 27, 2012

she should learn to drive a manual car so that she knew what is neutral gear and brake.

Luckyk9trainer said... »August 27, 2012

oh you people make me sick! such knowledge without knowing what it is like to be traveling down the hgwy at 120 miles per hour, not on purpose!!  It wouldn't go into N, she had the key turned off, who the hell would intentionally put themselves in this kind of danger???? really it couldn't possibly be the fault of the manufactures!!! In 2009 this was happening, a family of four was killed, the state trooper was the driver, he had his wife daughter and brother in law in the car, he tried everything. the likelihood of us ordinary citizens  having the frame of mind to think of everything,would be farfetched, the trooper did and still him and his family were killed, something fishy?? yea the woman just wanted attention, what a bunch of morons.  so duhhhhhh sorry to burst your bubble but the state trooper was a man and he had both his feet with all his weight on the brakes, skids proved it.

RJ Jenkins said... »August 27, 2012

Im a tech and i agree 100 percent, sounds like BS to me as well even when Toyota claimed it was gas pedals sticking anx shaving peoples pedals, i was cracking up on how stupid people believed it

Tommy said... »August 27, 2012

 First it was the Japs trying to kill us with their Toyotas and now its the Koreans..

no one said... »August 27, 2012


JosephJunior said... »August 27, 2012

I am skeptical.

I was even more skeptical, when the woman got out of the car with her hand holding a phone to her ear.

Tell me how she held onto a phone with one hand, steered with the other hand, and somehow attempted to turn off the vehicle, put on the brake, etc.

Looking forward to hearing from detectives (and mechanics).

Anonymous said... »August 27, 2012

Thanks Lucky! What a bunch of morons wrote these comments is right! Maybe karma will affect them someday!

Harper said... »August 27, 2012

I think those criticizing her should get the facts because most of you sound like ignorant jackasses. To the one comment about her being a woman. I bet you would have wrecked out within the first ten minutes.

Spamism said... »August 27, 2012

Dude, she genuinely thinks a magical sky fairy was going to save her.

She had to be told to pry the accelrator up off the floor. Where's her god now?

Don't tell us that she isn't crazy.

Spamism said... »August 27, 2012

Lies. What car can't be put into neutral at speed irrespective of the position of the key?

europeon said... »August 27, 2012

 What's really disturbing is that natural selection failed in this case :(

HUBEMX said... »August 27, 2012

I know.............

BeadlesAz said... »August 27, 2012

Spam - do a bit of research. The story about the state trooper and his family is true. He was highly trained and couldn't deal with the problem he had.

ConceptVBS said... »August 27, 2012

 The pedals are manufactured in the US.

Anonymous said... »August 28, 2012

Um i'm pretty sure she was scared and tried everything she could think of during this crazy event. She did well handling the situation. Most people would have freaked and probably killed themselves before they could even think of calling 911. In steal events people just dint think clearly and she obviously tried everything that the police could even think of. Don't judge it unfree you have been in the same situation!

Anonymous said... »August 28, 2012

"...Kia also now has brake throttle override technology standard across all model lines. Kia calls its system “smart pedal” technology and the automaker began implementing it 2010 on the 2010 Forte, Optima, Rondo and Sedona and the 2011 Sorento. . . .
The smart pedal system monitors and corrects for simultaneous application of both the brake and the accelerator. In such a case, the brakes override accelerator input and revert the engine/RPM to “idle” status. There is no difference in how the system works between manual and automatic transmission-equipped vehicles."

She didn't hit the brake. She may have thought she did but there is a panic-induced condition called "pedal confusion." The override system would have cut the feed to the throttle even if it was stuck to the floor by the accelerator.

Tommy said... »August 28, 2012

 The Toyotas are still having problems with sudden accelerations. Check out the Internet. The Toyotas pedals were dual sourced with an American company and a Japanese company making them. Buy your foreign car and take your chances. It might be the last car you will ever own.

rcb said... »August 28, 2012

 She said she had a push start so no "key" to turn it off with. Think could still shift it to neutral though...

Tommy said... »August 28, 2012

 It’s far from certain how much blame the parts supplier deserves.  In fact, one of the suppliers of the gas pedal  CTS says Toyota’s acceleration problems date back to 1999, years before CTS began supplying parts to Toyota.
(And the replacement gas pedal parts Toyota has announced as a fix for
the problem will be made by CTS,

D985hy said... »August 28, 2012

It's called a malfunction for a reason.

Dh9847h said... »August 28, 2012

Your comment reminds us all that the world is still chock-a-block with mean-spirited people like you who are much better off just staying off the Internet altogether, thanks.  That's if you don't mind.

Haiquan Ma said... »August 28, 2012

She for the obvious nearly got KIA'ed in a Sorento...

europeon said... »August 28, 2012

Why would I mind? I keep forgetting that with all the miracles of modern medicine and nanny societies every retard and genetically defective individual has the same rights as me on the evolutionary scale (if not more, thanks to positive discrimination), making natural selection a useless concept.

Raimaa said... »August 29, 2012

I guess no Kia for me.

Vilmos2k said... »August 29, 2012

It was MotorTrend or RoadandTrack magazine that conducted a test after the Camry fiasco.....Conclusion was if you step on the brake pedal while you are flooring the gas pedal with the other foot the brakes will easily overcome the gas pedals intent to speed up the vehicle....The only car in the test that needed a longer distance to stop was a Mustang Shelby. The Infiniti produced the best numbers in the brake vs gas breaking distance (within 2 feet the no gas and full brakes vs full gas and full brakes test)....So I do think the above story is a fishy one....

BreakHeat said... »August 29, 2012

What they don't tell you in the motortrend and roadandtrack magazines is that their testing only applied to cool brakes from a somewhat reasonable speed (100ish I'm guessing). So basically if your car is running away you need to try everything to turn it off get it out of gear, etc. If it doesn't work then step on the brakes as hard as possible and bring it to a halt in ONE attempt.

If you instead step on the brakes with light or medium force, to see how well they are stopping the car you are simply heating them up. Once heated the brakes will fade FAST (my street brake pads wont last more than a few turns at my local track before they are over heated) and you need to let them cool before trying to stop it again.

So if this lady just lightly applied the brakes for a while hoping it would stop slowly, that will end up slowing you down to a point and then they will overheat and the car will accelerate back up again.

And with all that said this sounds like B.S. I find it harder to believe the car wouldn't turn off (push to start or not), or shift to neutral versus some lady wanting some press coverage.

Rebere said... »September 01, 2012

All you critics out there that say you should have done this should have done that have never had a car get away on them.  I have.  A 1995 white Cadillac Deville with a big eight cylinder northstar engine. Any of you idiots think you can hold the brake down when the engine is full throttle should think again. I was lucky and I will tell you it is by far the scariest experience ever.  I was able to slam the bugger into neutral and no I didnt blow the engine as some suggest would happen.

Polyester Poontang said... »September 01, 2012

Every so often there is a glich in evolution that produces an exceptional sir are turning out to be a exceptional life support system for an asshole.

Lgzilio said... »September 02, 2012

Can't believe the people that buy vehicles with push button starts that don't know anything about how to turn them off. Stop buying based on what the Jone'es are driving and get something you can handle in an emergency.

Ayman R. Abou Elseoud said... »January 01, 2013

yes if it is V6 3500cc engine can go until 200km./h , i drove it and was so fast driver ever i did :))

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