(bumped and updated from original post on Friday 3/12)
Jeez, the mainstream media is such a bunch of suckers. If the fact that a guy could talk on his cellphone while handling an "out of control Prius" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) wasn't a big enough freakin' clue, a few minutes of research would have uncovered this:
Sleuth work at the Web sites Jalopnik.com and Gawker.com reveals that Sikes and his wife Patty in 2008 filed for bankruptcy and are over $700,000 in debt. Among their creditors is Toyota Financial Services for a lease on a 2008 Toyota Prius, with value at time of bankruptcy of $20,494. The Jalopnik Web site shows a copy of Toyota's secured claims form, though when Jalopnik questioned Sikes by e-mail he denied being behind on his Prius payments.
Sikes also has a history of filing insurance claims for allegedly stolen items that are slowly coming to light. In 2001 he filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff's Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a prosumer mini-DV camera and gear, and $24,000 in cash, according to Fox40 in Sacramento. His bankruptcy documents show a 2008 payment of $7,400 for an allegedly stolen saxophone and clothes.
For what it's worth, Sikes owned and operated a Web site called AdultSwingLife.com. More salacious material on this man will continue to pour in.
Read the whole thing. It is mind-boggling that the media could remain so willfully blind. Now, if I was even the slightest bit conspiratorial, I might begin to think Gee, Toyota is (was) the world's #1 automaker, the United States government now owns General Motors & needs to see a return on their investment, and the media sure could use some financial assistance themselves, and they have been awful supportive - disproportionately so - of a government that grows more unpopular by the day, so could it be that...
Nah. Couldn't be. Not in a free country...
UPDATE 3/13: How convenient:
Jim Sikes, who claims to have had an unintended acceleration incident with his Toyota Prius on a San Diego County freeway Monday afternoon, says he has no plans to sue Toyota.
He's been saying that in multiple media interviews, but he expanded a bit with Jalopnik, which e-mailed him to ask if (as they'd been tipped), he was behind on his Prius payments. He e-mailed back, denying that he is or ever was late on the lease payment, saying "What we are waiting for is SLANDEROUS statements from the media." He also mentioned having hired an attorney.
To represent him in the made-for-TV movie, no doubt...and one more testament to Sikes' character:
William Sweet says he went into business with Sikes, together opening up a paralegal services company called "AAA California Aid" in 1997. Sweet operated the main office and Sikes ran one in Los Banos, California. Sweet alleges numerous incidents of fraud and theft involving Sikes led him to dissolve their partnership, including an incident in which Sikes sent an employee to break into the main office to steal payment records.
"As soon as i heard the words "Jim Sikes" I immediately woke up out of a dead sleep and thought "uh oh what the hell is this guy up to now?"
Meanwhile, over at the mainstream media, the AP defends its reporting by...quoting a former NHTSA administrator from the Carter administration...
UPDATE II: Seems like the AP is finally catching up to us, and reconsidering their earlier defense of Sikes:
"it does not appear to be feasibly possible, both electronically and mechanically that his gas pedal was stuck to the floor and he was slamming on the brake at the same time."
So, so hard to change the narrative, isn't it, boys? Involves actual...work.