- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2010

Toyota defended itself Monday against the recent wave of bad publicity, saying a preliminary investigation of the 2008 Prius that purportedly sped out of control recently in California showed “significant inconsistencies” compared to the driver’s account.

Company executives said technicians think the vehicle was being driven while the front brakes were partially applied.

They also said the driver, James Sikes, was not turned away from the El Cajon Toyota dealership when he contacted it about problems with his vehicle.

The incident occurred March 8 on a California highway.

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U.S. says it cannot explain runaway Prius

Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said the investigation took place Wednesday and Thursday at the dealership and include a a road test as well as a check of the the computer system and the purportedly malfunctioning gas pedal.

He also said the vehicle stopped on its own, not by a highway patrol car, as widely reported by the news media.

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