PARIS — A driver hurtled through northern France at 200 km/h for more than 160 kilometres after his car speed regulator jammed and the brakes failed.
Franck Lecerf had set out in his Renault Laguna 3 to visit his local supermarket in Pont-de-Metz, but ended up in a Belgian ditch after an hour-long white-knuckle ride escorted by police cars along the northern French coastal highway.
The journey — in which Lecerf saw “his entire life flash before his eyes” — ended in Alveringem when he finally ran out of gasoline.
Lecerf was on a divided highway when the speed dial of his car, which had been specially adapted for disabled drivers, jammed at 96 km/h.
Each time the 36-year-old driver tried to brake, the car accelerated instead of slowing down, eventually hitting 200 km/h.
As other cars honked and swerved from his path, Lecerf managed to call the emergency services.
Several police officers, realizing that Lecerf’s only option was to keep going until his gasoline ran out, escorted him at breakneck speed across more than 160 km of French highway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.
Three toll stations were obliged to raise their barriers as Lecerf shot through.
“My life flashed before me,” he told Le Courrier Picard. “I just wanted it to stop.”
He said he had suffered two epileptic seizures as a result of the ordeal.
A Renault technician had sought to advise police on how to solve the problem as they gave chase, to no avail.
Lecerf said it was not his first speed-jamming incident but that Renault had looked at the car and said that it had fixed the problem.
“This time, they’ve gone too far,” he said.
His lawyer said he would file a legal complaint over “endangerment of a person’s life.”
Renault said it would await the results of an investigation.
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