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Couldn't Stop Runaway Jeep, Driver Says

The driver of a vehicle that sped across a busy Westport Avenue Wednesday afternoon, narrowly avoiding a collision with another vehicle, has not been charged in the incident, Norwalk Police say.

The 2006 Jeep sped out of the Splash Car Wash , crossed Westport Avenue and went over a sidewalk, up a short hill and into the parking lot of 181 Westport Ave. It hit an unoccupied 2009 Jeep Sport, which hit a building, smashing the glass at Fabrics by the Yard. There was no structural damage to the building.

The 51-year-old driver of the speeding vehicle, an employee of Splash, said he had been assigned to drive it from the inside of the car wash into the parking lot, according to Sgt. Lisa Cotto. When he turned the vehicle's ignition switch on, it accelerated at a high rate of speed, he said. He tried to brake, without success.

A video recording from Splash showed the vehicle exiting the car wash and speeding across the street, according to police. The video shows the rear brake lights flashing several times during the accident, they say.

Police say they were unable to determine that the driver was at fault. They believe the incident may be due to mechanical failure of the Jeep.

A supervisor at Splash said the incident was an example of Jeep Sudden Unintended Acceleration. Michael Palese of Corporate Communications at Chrysler Group, LLC, took issue with that, saying the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has debunked SUA.

"These incidents are caused by driver error," he quotes the report as saying, "specifically drivers who believe they are applying the brakes when they are actually pressing the accelerator."

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