Not to argue, but you are starting with the assumption that it is operator error unless proven otherwise. Let’s just turn it around and what IF, the circumstances happened exactly as she described? What IF this is exactly what happened to the California Highway Patrolman? Then what? It would mean that they have a serious problem that they have not determined the cause of and that they cannot yet explain. Just because they can’t explain it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. She had her wits about her enough to try everything she could think of including shifting to all gears, shutting it off, both feet on the brake and the emergency brake. Even trying to shut the cruise off. It went into passing gear without her foot on the pedal. She even had her wits about her enough to call her husband for one last time-sounds more like the flight into the Pentagon than a hysterical person not knowing what pedal she’s pushing. When the husband put it into neutral to tow it, it tryed to start by itself. I also find it hard to believe that the CHP would not have known enough to try to put it into neutral, duh. That’s the point, they couldn’t or it didn’t respond. That’s not a floor mat issue or a bad accelerator. It is something quite different and more serious and they just aren’t looking.
Haven’t a lot of us had a situation where when we explain it to a technician they say it can’t happen, but you know full well it did happen? I’ve even done the same thing when the wife explained a strange symptom. Maybe it took a while, but it did happen and finally found the problem. Just assumming that unless there are pictures or witnesses, or other hard evidence, it didn’t happen, is sticking your head in the sand. Let’s assume it did happen and find the problem like the Illinois Professor did.
Put a fuel pump kill switch in if nothing else but this is just the tip of the iceberg with some type of electronic failure. Maybe only 1% or less, but if you were the one driving the thing hitting passing gear with no foot on the pedal and unable to take it out of gear, you’d want someone to take you seriously.