Runaway Prius Driver Thrown Under Blog Bus

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Jim Sikes, the man whose harrowing 9/11 audio of his runaway Toyota Prius ride fueled countless mainstream stories, is now being outed as a bad debtor, pornographer, with a history of making insurance claims on stolen possessions. USA Today and many others have carried the developments exclusively reported and verified by Gawker Media’s Jalopnik car blog.

All posts on the topic are filed under “Beige Bites Back” along with an image of a Prius with fangs.

A redacted email posted by the blog shows that Sikes has hired a PR person to cope with the fallout and negotiate for a replacement vehicle. The image and preposition shows it’s a woman from an agency.

So while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tear apart Sikes’s car for evidence, a House subcommittee is tearing apart the NHTSA, attempting to understand why the agency hasn’t issued a recall in decades.

These developments may alleviate a little of the heat on the embattled carmaker, though the blunt impact of the story remains. For example, the Sikes scandal was not mentioned on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this today, though the cable gabfest did have a service piece ready on what to do should your Toyota speed out of control.