Deputy Saves Woman in 50 mph Runaway Car

A woman speeding more than 50 mph in a Ford Focus Thursday when sheriff's deputies noticed she had lost control and needed help.

A Tujunga woman lost control of her Ford Focus today, plowing through five La Crescenta intersections at speeds exceeding 50 mph before sheriff's deputies used their patrol car to bring her car to a controlled stop, officials said.

Sheriff's Deputy Marcelo Ruiz and his partner, Reserve Deputy Alfred Danelian, saw the woman trying to get attention and help about 11:20 a.m., according to a news release from the .

Ruiz drove in front of the woman's car and stopped her vehicle, leaving just a bumper scratch.

The driver was heading southbound from Foothill Boulevard onto Pennsylvania Avenue, according to the report. She ran through five intersections with cross traffic and red lights, but no one was injured and no traffic crashes happened. 

Sheriff's investigators determine her brakes did not work.

George L. September 23, 2011 at 06:10 PM
I'm always suspicious about runaway cars. This dates to before the Toyota debacle which has since proved false through thorough extensive investigation (http://business.inquirer.net/18953/unintended-consequences). Our cars are equipped with a number of features that are not new and certainly not advanced. One is gear selectors. At any time you may move out of your drive (D, D4, D5, O) gear into neutral. Disengaging your drive wheels from the engine. This allows you to brake if your brakes are properly working without other motive forces at work. At the least, you will not go any faster (unless on a downhill). Second is the emergency brake (usually found under the dash on the left using foot pressure or as a handle in the center console). After disengaging the transmission one should be able to apply limited braking force using the emergency brake. Will it stop you as quickly as your normal brakes, no. But it will slow you down eventually. Taking the "out of control" aspect out of being a runaway. These problems tend to not be experienced when driving a manual because as a matter of course, one is always moving their gearing into and out of neutral. Making it much more front of mind in an emergency.
Krae911 September 25, 2011 at 07:04 AM
How frightening for this woman! I had a similar experience .. Driving down Lauderdale/Dunsmore Elementary,brake pedal went completely to the floor - blowing through the stop sign.Red light @ Foothill intersection w/my 3 yr old in the back seat. I engaged my hazards,downshifted into 2nd (taking it to 30 mph) Then 1st (taking it to 20 mph).Then SLOWLY started to apply my e-brake. I thought of what to do to avoid entering that intersection should the light still be red. (There's a car repair shop to the right, but the driveway is angled downhill, w/mechanics working on cars, so no good.There's a liquor store to the left that has a wall to the left of the entrance where - hopefully - there won't be a customer standing on the other side) <--That was my choice, should it all go wrong. By God's grace,the light turned green @ Foothill, clearing the intersection. Midas is 1 block away, with an UPHILL driveway (did they plan that? lol). I kept my hazards on and drove in 1st gear to their parking lot, using my e-brake to stop in my parking space. Inside, the staff member said, "I wish more people knew what to do - like you did. You did exactly the right thing." My reason for posting is NOT to brag about how smart I am or anything like that - at all! I am posting because I want all of my fellow neighbors to know what to do, should they find themselves in this unfortunate position. THINK AHEAD, STAY CALM, AND SAVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS FROM A POTENTIAL TRAGEDY.


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