Stuck Accelerator Leads Iowa Woman on Real-Life Horror Ride

By ABC News

Aug 27, 2012 12:32pm

ABC News’ John Schriffen reports:

Lauri Ulvestad survived a real-life version of the movie “Speed” on a Missouri highway, enduring what could be the worst nightmare of every driver, driving at a high speed with no ability to slow down.

The Ames, Iowa, woman, 47, was driving home from visiting a friend Aug. 19 when the accelerator in her 2011 Kia Sorento SUV became stuck.

A dash-camera video captured by the Missouri State Highway Patrol officers who soon began following her shows the 35 minutes of terror that Ulvestad endured as her car traveled 59 miles at speeds as high as 115 mph.

Ulvestad can be seen in the video swerving to dodge cars and driving over the highway median three times in order to avoid a crash.  While navigating her car, she also reached for a lifeline, using her cellphone to dial 911 and plead with an operator for help.

“I’m coming up on a bunch of cars. I’m so scared,” Ulvestad says on the call.

On the other end of the line,  dispatcher Kelly Brieg instructed Ulvestad to stay calm and try to shift the vehicle into neutral.  When that proved unsuccessful, Brieg told Ulvestad to lift up the stuck accelerator while also pushing down on the brake until, finally, it worked.

The dash-cam video shows a shaky Ulvestad emerging from her car after it stopped, with her cellphone still pressed to her ear.  A highway trooper then enters the vehicle to turn it off.

Ulvestad reportedly hugged the highway patrol troopers who came to her rescue on the road but had not been able to thank Brieg until the two were introduced for the first time Sunday.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here,” Ulvestad said to Brieg in a moment captured exclusively on “Good Morning America.”

“I’m just so glad you’re sitting here,” Brieg said.

Ulvestad suffered no major injuries in the crash and the maker of her car, the Irvine, Calif.,-based Kia Motors America Inc., said it is working with her on a solution.

“Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident,” the South Korean company said in a statement released Friday. “KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner.”

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