Local woman on her Prius: Neutral doesn't work in this car

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – A man took a terrifying ride down a California freeway after a Toyota model that is not on the gas pedal recall list accelerated and would not stop.

A California Highway Patrol officer helped stop the car by getting in front of it and hitting the cruiser's brakes.

National Highway Traffic Safety investigators are now trying to determine what caused that gas pedal to stick and that driver is not the only Prius owner with problems.

3TV spoke to a Valley woman who says her Prius is doing something dangerous too.

Shifting your car into neutral will help stop the car and that is what the man in California did initially but that did not work.

Marianne Larocca says she hopes to never find herself in the same situation. She says she has some serious concerns about her brand new Prius. “Ii saw the story this morning and said ‘Oh my god’ I could not believe it.”

Larocca says she bought her brand new 2010 Prius in September and took the car back a month ago because of the recent recall. She explains, “I got it fixed, it was for the brake and it was a computer glitch.”

She was barely starting to feel confident in the car again when she saw the story about the man in California on Monday. When she called her local Toyota dealership, a man told her he did not know what all the fuss was about.

Larocca explains, “He said all the guy needed to do was put it into neutral.” So Larocca told him, “Ninety miles an hour. I don't know what to do so I'm going to get in the car and you're going to walk me through it.”

She says that is when she discovered a problem with her Prius shifting into neutral. “It’s a little scary and now it’s a lot scary…because neutral doesn't work in this car.”

3TV tried to get a hold of some local dealers for comment but they declined.