5 miles to the airport last night, cruising on the freeway, my transmission suddenly accelerates from the steady 3000 rpm to 3500 rpm. When I press on the accelerator, the engine speed and my actual speed are no longer in sync. It feels like the transmission is no longer shifting. The radio cuts out and all the lights dim. My airbag warning light flashes intermittently at me. I make it to the airport, afraid to turn the key off; but I must. I attempt a restart - nothing. All red lights but no engine cranking. What gives? A fuse, the alternator? The car - 2003 mazda protege. The driver - stranded when I return home. Thanks for your thoughts.
My guess? Your alternator has died. And your battery has been drained.
Could Be The Alternator, As You Suggest.
Sounds like you were getting some warning signs that you were running out of juice from the discharging battery.
Your transmission probably dropped out of overdrive when the power to a solenoid died. Get it towed to a mechanic.