Joseph Cooper’s BMW roared down a Florida highway for 45 miles at nearly 100 mph.
He wanted to stop. Troopers wanted him to stop. Everyone wanted him to stop.
His SUV, however, did not want to stop.
That’s what he told a 911 dispatcher, Florida Highway Patrol and members of the Fellsmere Police Department.
It took the combined efforts of all three agencies to finally bring Cooper’s runaway Beemer to a stop Monday afternoon near Vero Beach.
Cooper, 28, was northbound on Interstate 95 when he lost control of his SUV at mile marker 110 as it hit top speeds of 95 mph — with no end in sight.
“I believe my gas pedal is stuck in my car and I’m on I-95,” Cooper calmly told a 911 dispatcher at around 1 p.m.
“You have no idea why it might be stuck?” the dispatcher asked. “No, ma’am, I do not. I need traffic assistance,” Cooper said, in what was not an understatement.
VeroNews.Com released the 911 audio between Cooper and the dispatcher. Both try to keep their cool as they tried to find an answer — emergency brake, regular brakes, ignition cut, cruise control, neutral gear.
“I can’t, ma’am, I tried that already,” Cooper told the dispatcher when she suggested shifting the automatic transmission BMW into neutral. “I’m trying to hold onto the wheel and talk to you at the same time,” Cooper responded.
The dispatcher then asked if Cooper could set his cruise control and then manually use it to slow his speed.
Not working, he said. “S---! I’m about to hit somebody, goddammit it!”
BMW, in a statement released to ABC News, called the scenario “implausible.” The car company echoed the dispatcher’s suggested solutions on how to stop the vehicle and added that the car’s computer and floor design should not have allowed for a stuck pedal in the first place.
“All BMW vehicles, including the 2003 X5 described in this incident, employ an electronic accelerator pedal which uses software logic to override the accelerator whenever the brake pedal is pressed while driving. This fail-safe software means that if the vehicle detects that both pedals are depressed, the on-board electronics will reduce engine power so that the driver may stop safely. … We would be happy to work with the Florida State Police to investigate the cause of this incident,” BMW said.
Troopers used spiked stop sticks in an effort to slow the vehicle, which was still zipping along at 85 mph. Two tries with the sticks got the car down to about 60 mph after blowing out a couple of tires. Then 40 mph as the car traveled on four rims, TCPalm reported.
The Fellsmere Police Department released dash-cam images that show one of its officers, later identified as Sgt. Scott Newsom, deploying spike strips on the interstate in a third attempt to stop the SUV with the strips.
This time it worked, as Cooper’s BMW swerved to a stop at mile marker 155 on the inside lane — 45 miles after the adventure began.
No one was hit. But Cooper complained of chest pains and was taken to Indian River Medical Center.
The Florida Highway Patrol is going over the BMW to learn why it would not stop.