Maybe you’ve had this nightmare: You’re racing down the highway at crazy speeds, the brakes unresponsive, the car inexplicably speeding up, toll stops and who-knows-what-else lying in wait ahead — it actually happened to a French driver out for a casual drive.
Frank Lecerf was on his way to the supermarket, reports The Guardian, but when his Renault Laguna’s speed passed 60 m.p.h., something went badly wrong. Suddenly the car wouldn’t slow down, and hitting the brakes only made it go faster, quickly reaching a top speed of 125 m.p.h., where it remained for the better part of an hour.
Hurtling down France’s northern motorway, swerving around other vehicles in the fast lane, the 36-year-old managed to contact emergency services who responded by deploying what The Guardian referred to as “a platoon of police cars.” The police immediately worked to clear a forward path for Lecerf, directing traffic out of the way and prompting three toll stations to raise their barricades to allow the malfunctioning Renault to zip through. At one point an engineer with Renault attempted to help Lecerf slow the vehicle, but to no avail.
Lecerf’s white-knuckle trip, which started in Pont-de-Metz near Amiens, eventually took him north past Calais, then Dunkirk and finally over the border intoBelgium before the car ran out of gas. At that point, Lecerf was reportedly able to veer into a ditch near the Belgian city of Alveringem — about 125 miles from his starting point.
Interviewed by Le Courrier Picard afterward, Lecerf said he saw his life flash before his eyes, and that he “just wanted [the ordeal] to stop.”
He’s filed a lawsuit against Renault, claiming this wasn’t the first time the car exhibited speed issues and that he suffered multiple seizures after the experience. Renault isn’t commenting, other than telling a French news station it’s waiting for results from an investigation into the matter.