Stuck at 125mph with no brakes, French driver crashes in Belgium

Feb 14, 2013

Frank Lecerf was going to the shops, but ended up in a ditch in another country after terrifying ride

A TERRIFIED French motorist who set out on a short trip to the supermarket, has had a lucky escape after his Renault Laguna 3 refused to slow down, the brakes failed, and he travelled more than 200km at 125mph.

Frank Lecerf's high speed ordeal finally ended in a ditch in Belgium after his malfunctioning car ran out of petrol after almost two hours on the road. The Frenchman, who suffers from epilepsy and drives a specially-modified car that has controls on the steering wheel to operate the throttle and brake, has filed a legal complaint against the vehicle's manufacturer.

"My life flashed before me," the 36-year-old told local newspaper Le Courrier picard. "I just wanted it to stop." He was unhurt but says he has had two epileptic seizures since the incident.

The Guardian reports that Lecerf left his home in Pont-de-Metz in the Somme and was travelling at about 60mph when the car's speed regulator began to malfunction. Each time he hit the brakes the vehicle accelerated, "eventually reaching 125mph and sticking".

Lecerf managed to call the emergency services on his mobile phone and a squad of police cars set out in pursuit. Police arranged for the barriers at three toll stations to be lifted and cleared other traffic out of the way. A conference call was arranged in which a team of gendarmes, firefighters and a Renault engineer attempted to advise Lecerf on what to do.

The Guardian says the police cars escorted Lecerf for more than 125 miles on the A16, a motorway in Northern France that runs through Calais and Dunkirk and is well-known to British holidaymakers. After running out of petrol, his car ran into a ditch near the Belgian town of La Panne. The town's name, says The Independent, means 'breakdown' in English.

The newspaper says "some doubts" have been raised about Lecerf's version of events. Renault engineers are checking the car for electronic faults but company sources suggested that the international car chase might have been "a case of panic following a mistaken manipulation of the controls".

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