When Frank Lecerf drove off to do his weekly supermarket shop in northern France, he was not expecting to embark on a high-speed car chase that would force him over the Belgian border. Lecerf has filed a legal complaint after his Renault Laguna, which is adapted for disabled drivers, jammed at 125mph (200km/h) and the brakes failed, forcing him to continue careering along a vast stretch of French motorway and into Belgium.
Police gave chase until he ran out of petrol and crashed into a ditch. The 36-year-old was on a dual carriageway on his way to a hypermarket when the car's speed dial first jammed at 60mph. Each time he tried to brake, the car accelerated, eventually reaching 125mph and sticking there. While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars.
Realising Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his petrol ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125mph of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border. Puzzled motorists gave way as the high-speed convoy approached. Three toll stations were warned to raise their barriers as Lecerf ploughed through. After about an hour, his petrol tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home, in Pont-de-Metz, near the northern French city of Amiens.
"My life flashed before me," he said. "I just wanted it to stop." He was unhurt but suffered two epileptic seizures.
A Renault technician had been on the phone with police throughout the chase but couldn't come up with a solution. Lecerf said it wasn't the first time his speed dial had jammed but that Renault had looked at the car and assured him it was fine. His lawyer said he would file a legal complaint over "endangerment of a person's life". Renault said it would await the results of an investigation.