Brake Lights, Cruise Control Problem, and Service Engine Soon Light

I have a 99 ford escort and have recently put a number of miles on it while on a road trip from Virginia to Florida, then to Penn, and then finally back home to Virginia. While leaving Penn to head back home, I noticed that my brake lights would not turn off (even while the engine is off and key is out of the ignition), and my cruise control suddenly stopped working. And then there is my “Service Engine Soon” light that has been on since I have bought the car. It is now off. I checked all my fuses and have to remove the brake light fuse to turn them off. This seemed to all happen at the same time. Could this be an computer or electronic problem?

The issue with the brake lights and cruise control is very likely failure of the switch at the top of the brake pedal arm that detects if the brake pedal is being pressed. That’s usually cheap and easy to replace.

For your check-engine light, go have the codes read. I certainly wouldn’t have recommended taking a 2,000-mile trip in 100-plus-degree weather while ignoring a light that’s alerting you that the car is having a problem of unknown severity.

Your brake light switch is stuck on. This is exactly why your cruise control is not working. Had you noticed before that the cruise would disconnect anytime you pressed the brake pedal? Now, the cruise thinks your foot is always on the brake pedal.

Replace the brake light switch.
Get the OBD-II codes read (they will still be there for a little while after the light goes off), and post them here.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.