Runaway Calif. Prius Driver Has Sketchy Past

Bankruptcy, bad real estate deals have some thinking scam
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2010 12:56 PM CST
Runaway Calif. Prius Driver Has Sketchy Past
Driver James Sikes.   (AP Photo)

The driver of the Toyota Prius he says went haywire and took him on a 94mph terror ride earlier this week has a checkered past that leads some to doubt his story. “Immediately I thought this guy has an angle here,” a dissatisfied client of real estate agent James Sikes tells Fox News. “But I don't know what the angle is.” Sikes filed for bankruptcy in 2008 when he was, perhaps coincidentally, five months behind on payments on his Prius.

Sikes boasts of having a celebrity clientele, leading some to believe the runaway Prius could be a publicity stunt or a way to line his wallet. Toyota, though restrained in its comments, lends credence to the theory. “It's tough for us to say if we're skeptical,” an exec says, but the company is “mystified” as to how the malfunction could have occurred. Sikes' former client is more blunt. “This guy is trying to pull a scam here.” Sikes has retained counsel, though his lawyers say they have no intention of suing Toyota. (More James Sikes stories.)

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