Late last week, 36-year old Frank Lecerf got on the freeway and set his cruise control to about 60 mph. When he tried to turn it off a couple of minutes later, it stayed on and the car kept going. Surprisingly, applying the brakes made the car speed up and after several unsuccessful attempts to stop, Lecerf found himself traveling at 100 mph with no way to reduce his speed.
Panicked, Lecerf called the local fire department and explained his situation. Police cars were immediately dispatched to escort him while one of Renault's top engineers tried to find a solution to the problem but his efforts were of no avail. Lecerf applied the brakes several more times and the Laguna eventually reached 125 mph.
The incident ended when Lecerf drove the car into a ditch in Alveringem, Belgium, about 130 miles away from his starting point. He was not injured but he was taken to the hospital because he had two seizures during the chase.
The exact cause of the problem is still being determined. The car is equipped with hand controls for disabled drivers and it appears that a communication error between the aforementioned controls and the cruise control module caused the throttle to stick open.
Interviewed by Le Courrier Picard newspaper, Lecerf claims that the problem has happened before.
"I've taken the car to the Renault dealership twice for this very problem. Each time they kept it for two or three days and gave it back saying they didn't find a problem. They didn't take me seriously," said Lecerf, adding that he will never touch the car again.
Renault has declined to comment on the matter.
Photo by Ronan Glon.