'Help, I'm doing 135mph and can't stop'

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The Independent Online

A quiet Sunday afternoon drive home from visiting friends turned into a terrifying 135mph ordeal for a motorist after the accelerator on his BMW jammed and the car's brakes failed.

For almost 60 miles, Kevin Nicolle, 25, weaved between lorries and other cars on the A1 as he desperately tried to avoid crashing his automatic 3-series.

Disaster struck last Sunday as he was driving through the Yorkshire Dales along the A1, on his way home to Portsmouth after visiting friends in Newcastle upon Tyne. As he passed Thirsk, he took his foot off the accelerator, but the car speeded up.

"The pedal was stuck to the floor. The whole thing was just a blur. I was terrified, hysterical and crying," he said.

Mr Nicolle, a former lorry driver, called the AA, who told him to call the police. They dispatched four patrol cars and a helicopter.

For a while he was able to bring his speed down to 70mph by using the brakes. He also tried to slip the car into neutral, but without success because the gears were also jammed: "I couldn't turn the ignition off because it would have disabled the power steering and made it even more dangerous," he said. He passed through three counties, travelling up to 130mph at times, on a hellish 26-minute journey.

The policewoman on the end of the line said they would attempt a "rolling-stop", boxing in the car with other police vehicles to gradually slow it down. But it was too late - the brakes burnt out and the car began to accelerate again, with Mr Nicolle gripping the steering wheel in terror. "I saw the dial going past 100mph, 115, 120 ... I was praying for police cars to show up but they couldn't catch me. I was reaching 135mph ... I honestly thought I was going to die."

As he drove, Mr Nicolle sounded his horn and flashed his lights to warn other vehicles and overtook cars on the verge of the fast lane. Police told him to drive on the hard shoulder where he shot past several slip roads. Then he saw the sign: Roundabout 800 yards. It was a raised roundabout with a grassy crest. "That's when I said, 'I ain't surviving this'."

A long queue of cars blocked the way to the Blyth roundabout near Worksop - Mr Nicolle swerved before crashing and flipping his car over. "I didn't deliberately crash the car ... it started to fill with smoke but I said to the firemen: 'Don't cut my car, you'll damage it'." He left the car with barely a scratch.

Police have examined the car and said he will not face prosecution. A spokesman for BMW said: "We are unaware of any issues of that nature with that particular model."

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