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Iowa woman takes wild ride after accelerator gets stuck

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A woman driving through Missouri on her way home to Iowa had the ride of her life after her accelerator became stuck – sending her speeding along I-35 at up to 120 miles per hour.

Laurie Ulvestad, 47, was driving the 2011 Kia Sorento just north of Bethany, Missouri, when her vehicle began to surge and she couldn’t get it to stop.

“I spoke to the driver and she said the 911 operator did a great job at keeping her calm and helping her to concentrate on her driving while different methods of stopping the car was described to her,” said Sgt. Sheldon Lyon of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Missouri Highway Patrol troopers tried to clear traffic ahead of Ulvestad as she weaved in and out of traffic, including driving on the median several times to pass other vehicles during the 59 mile ordeal.

“She did a fantastic job of maintaining control trying to go around the vehicles down in the median without striking the rear of them, which would have been a catastrophic accident,” said Sgt. Sheldon, noting that she maintained control with just one hand on the wheel as she was on the phone to 911 during the entire 35 minute ordeal.

Automotive experts say if you’re ever in this situation, it’s important to stay calm – and whatever you do, do not try to jam your car into “Park,” which would lock up your steering wheel and cause you to lose control.  Instead, shift down to neutral so the engine is not powering the wheels anymore, and start pushing on the brake. 

Kia Motors America Media Statement Regarding Acceleration Incident:

Kia Motors America (KMA) places a priority on vehicle safety and takes reported customer concerns seriously. Upon learning of this incident from the customer, KMA requested an initial inspection and test drive of the vehicle by authorized Kia service technicians and alternate transportation has been provided to the customer.

Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident. KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner. As always, any Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact KMA’s Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia).

(thanks to our sister station WDAF for contributing this report)