BRICK, N.J. — According to www.nj.com, in January, a runaway Jeep raced out of Country Sudser Car Wash, crossed the street and crashed into trees, leaving the vehicle mangled.
Antonio Rivera, the owner of the 2006 Jeep Commander, said, “I was sitting there with the kids watching the car get washed and all of a sudden I hear the receptionist scream, ‘Oh my God!’“
In the crash investigation report, police wrote, “When the carwash attendant got into [the vehicle] to drive it further into the lot, he said the vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed.”
The 22-year-old attendant refused medical treatment when the fire department and police responded moments later, the article continued.
“I don’t know how it got stuck, it just kept going,” Antonio said the attendant told him.
A tow truck driver who removed the Jeep from the woods noted that he had a similar problem with the accelerator, the police noted in the report.
“He explained he merely tapped the accelerator and the vehicle took off on him,” the report said. “He added that he was trying to brake but the car kept going until he was finally able to stop it.”
The police issued no tickets, the article stated.
The car was a complete loss, the article noted, and after Rivera and his wife, Becky, contacted their insurance, it paid the Riveras $9,250, which was the value of the car minus the couple’s $750 deductible.
An insurance agent advised the two to get their deductible back from the carwash, but Rivera claimed the carwash has refused to give him its insurance information and has not been returning his calls lately, the article continued.
“When I went there to discuss it recently, [the manager] looked at me like I had something to do with it,” Rivera said.
Manager Tony Pignataro told the media that his carwash attendant did not cause the accident and that the police report backs him up, adding, “This was a throttle-box sensor issue. He was trying to brake, but the car wouldn’t stop. How is that our fault?”
A worn-out throttle-box sensor, which transmits information about the car’s speed to the engine, could result in sudden jerking and idle surges, the article noted.
The Riveras claimed their vehicle had no prior issues before coming to the carwash, the article stated.
“I don’t think it’s fair I have to pay anything,” Becky said. “We bring my car to the carwash to get washed and we get a totaled car back. How is that fair?”
Read the full article here.