Every driver's worst nightmare: Frenchman forced to drive at 125mph after brake failure
Published 14/02/2013 | 16:27
A FRENCH driver was forced to hurtle 125 miles through northern France at 125 miles per hour after his car speed regulator jammed and the brakes failed.
When Franck Lecerf trundled off to the local supermarket in his Renault Laguna 3 on Saturday, little did he know that he would be involved in a cross-border car chase that would end up in Belgium and make national news.
Mr Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his car, specially adapted for disabled drivers, jammed, forcing him to plough all round the northern French coastal motorway.
After a terrifying, white-knuckle ride in which he saw "his entire life flash before his eyes", Mr Lecerf ended up in a Belgian ditch surrounded by a fleet of French police cars when his petrol finally ran out.
The 36-year-old was on a dual carriageway on his way to a hypermarket when the car's speed dial first jammed at 60mph. Each time he tried to brake, instead of slowing down, the car accelerated, eventually hitting 125mph where it refused to budge.
As other cars honked and swerved from his path, he managed to call emergency services who instantly dispatched numerous police cars. Realising Mr Lecerf's only option was to keep going until his petrol ran out, they escorted him at breakneck speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.
Three toll stations were obliged to raise their barriers as Mr Lecerf careered onwards. Around an hour later, his petrol tank finally ran dry and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home, in Pont-de-Metz, near the northern French city of Amiens.
"My life flashed before me," he told Le Courrier Picard. "I just wanted it to stop." He 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. Mr Lecerf said it was not his first speed jamming incident but that Renault had looked at the car and said they 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.