With his 2006 GT Mustang going 110 mph, James Benefield decided to crash the car in an empty parking lot, flipping it five times.

NEWNAN, GA. An off-duty ambulance operator suffered a horrific crash after his accelerator stuck while driving in Newnan.

On Christmas Eve, James Benefield was driving his 2006 GT Mustang when the accelerator stuck.

He tried hitting the brakes, shifting gears, and even tried pulling the key out of the ignition, but nothing worked. When he realized he wouldn’t be able to stop the car, Benefield realized he would have to crash.

“It was terrifying. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life,” Benefield said.

The Mustang was going 110 mph and Benefield crashed the car in an empty parking lot near Bullsboro Road and Coweta Crossing.

The car overturned five times. Miraculously, he survived with only a wounded lung and a sprained thumb. He returned to work six days later. Benefield watched as emergency responders freed him from the wrecked car using the Jaws of Life.

Having survived the disaster, he struggled to comprehend what had happened. Benefield said most people he spoke to had never heard of accelerators getting stuck.

But 11Alive found that Ford and Toyota have issued recalls over the past 20 years for the same problem. Carrie Sutton, a car service manager, experienced this firsthand when her Ford Explorer had a stuck accelerator.

“I’m still panicking. It’s really a human act,” Sutton said.

She has since studied the car’s malfunction and said there are three things every driver should know.

  • Brake: Take both feet and press hard on the brake pedal
  • Neutral: After braking, quickly downshift to neutral
  • Get out of the way: While in neutral, steer the vehicle into the shoulder, emergency lane, or any safe area. Once you have come to a complete stop, immediately turn off the vehicle.

Although it’s rare, Sutton said remembering these three things could save your life in an emergency.

Insurance investigators are examining Benefield’s car to determine how the gas pedal got stuck.

Bennefield did not have health insurance at the time of the accident. He is raising money to pay his medical bills.

For more information on online fundraising, click the link here.


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