15 Feb 2013

Merde! The Renault Laguna that wouldn't stop

When Frenchman, Frank Lecerf, took his Renault Laguna 3 to the local supermarket in Amiens he wasn't expecting the accelerator to stick on and that he'd have to drive for an hour at 125mph until the fuel ran out.

Mr Lecerf's Laguna was adapted by Renault for disabled drivers, although the French newspaper that reported the case, Le Courrier Picard, wasn't specific as to what the actual controls were.

Mr Lecerf was driving to the 'supermarche' along a dual carriageway when the speedo showed 60mph. This concerned him, as it would in a Laguna, so he pressed the brake - and the car accelerated.  So he did it again, and it accelerated again.

The car, and Mr Lecerf, eventually ended up hurtling down the road at 125mph.  Very scary in a Laguna.  Whilst the other French drivers swerved out of his way, presumably they thought he was a Brit en route to the Nurburgring, he phoned the emergency services.

Their response was to clear the road ahead and open all the toll booth barriers in his path so he could continue at 125mph until he ran out of fuel - 124 miles later.  French police joined him in what Le Courrier Picard describes as 'powerful Meganes'.  He headed out past Calais and Dunkirk, crossed the border into Belgium and, when the car started spluttering to a halt, drove it into a ditch.

Mr Lecerf said of the incident, "My life flashed before me," he told Le Courrier Picard. "I just wanted it to stop."

Whilst he was still doing 125mph on the motorway the French police were talking with Renault technicians about how to solve the problem because, apparently, this wasn't the first time his Laguna's accelerator had jammed open.  Renault had looked at the car after the first incident and declared "pas de problème."  Mr Lecerf's lawyer is filing a legal complaint with Renault over, "endangerment of a person's life".

Presumably throwing the key card out of the window and trying to stop the engine didn't occur anyone.