HARRISON COUNTY, Mo. - A woman driving home from Kansas City to Iowa is happy to be alive after a terrifying experience on Interstate 35.
"I knew I was going to die. I didn't have any doubt about,” Iowa resident Lauri Ulvestad said. “I really thought I was going to die ... And no matter what I did, I couldn't slow it down."
The accelerator on her sport utility vehicle became stuck. Her car continued going faster and faster, with nothing she could do.
RELATED | Listen to the 911 call http://bit.ly/U8B3hV
All Ulvestad could do was hang on and pray.
“I have a little angel that says ‘Don't drive faster than I can fly.’ And I think that's what helped me."
Ulvestad was headed back to Ames after a weekend in Kansas City. But shortly after stopping for gas in northern Missouri, her nightmare began.
"It was accelerating faster and faster. And i was looking at my GPS, and the number was going up and up and up."
Soon, her car was surpassing speeds of 100 miles per hour. 110. Then 120.
In 30 minutes, she traveled almost 60 miles, from Missouri into Iowa, with one patrol car in front of her and another behind.
"My foot isn't even on the accelerator,” Ulvestad recalled. “The emergency brake is on, all the way... I'm trying to move the brake, but it's not working."
She called 911.
Sheriff's deputies and state troopers tried desperately to catch up.
In-car cameras record the terrifying trip northbound on I-35.
"I went through, I think, it was a bridge with two other vehicles-- and I just did what I had to do."
She barrels through a median and blasts through construction zones, all the while driving to avoid disaster.
And still, she can't shut the vehicle off, can't shift out of drive.
And the accelerator is still wide-open.
"When i passed Osceola, they said, ‘try to lift up the accelerator and push on the brake.’ And so, I did that, and it slammed me from 119 miles per hour to like nothing."
Ulvestad recalls what happened moments later: "It slowed down enough that I jumped out and it kept going and then the officers went and tracked it down and unhooked the battery. I went and hugged I don't know what officer it was, but I went and hugged him and said ‘I'm safe, I'm safe, I'm safe, I'm safe. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you.’"
The Kia Sorento had a push-button start, so she couldn't turn off the car with the key, and the brakes burned up.
And she couldn't get the gears to shift.
It's still unclear how the accelerator got stuck.
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