Skip to main content

Apparently This Matters: Out of control at 125 mph

We're sure driving the roads of northern France can be lovely. Just not when you're out of control at 125 mph.
We're sure driving the roads of northern France can be lovely. Just not when you're out of control at 125 mph.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Apparently This Matters" is CNN Tech's weekly, offbeat look at trending topics online
  • This week, Jarrett looks at a 125 mph, out-of-control car ride
  • The French driver maintained control, despite two seizures and two toll booths
  • He clearly should have had a 4-cylinder Saturn -- no 125 mph here

Editor's note: Each week in "Apparently This Matters," CNN's Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the Web.

(CNN) -- I drive a Saturn. It's a 4-cylinder, the seats are cloth, and the window sills are permanently caked with dog drool. Which always works out rather well for the guys at the car wash who regularly enjoy the financial benefits of my shame.

"Sir, did something explode?"

"Here, just take all my money."

But this less-than-spectacular, mid-sized SUV certainly gets the job done. So long as the job doesn't call for impressing exotic, beautiful women. For that I rely on my bald head and lush, ginger beard.

All this is to say that I'm a simple man, and at the end of the day my car just needs to do one thing: Get me from Point A to Point B. And preferably without the accelerator getting dangerously stuck at 125 mph on the highway.

Because that's exactly what happened to some poor guy in France who recently had the craziest ride of his life.

It was a popular trending story online that quickly made its way across the Atlantic, detailing how Frank Lecerf casually drove off from his home in Pont-de-Metz for a weekly routine trip to the supermarket.

Then, suddenly, the speed control on his Renault Laguna -- which was specially modified for a disabled driver -- jammed at 60 mph.

This, of course, being in Europe, was actually displayed on his dash in kilometers. However, my brain can't handle such a thing, as it requires both math and a basic understanding of the number 10.

\
"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

Nevertheless, in a panic, the terrified 36-year-old attempted to use the brakes. But the more he tried to stop the vehicle, the faster it went, eventually topping out at 125 mph.

That is a truly sensational speed that I could never expect out of my own stupid car unless it somehow managed to free-fall from the International Space Station.

But Lecerf was evidently going that fast, completely out of control, with no way to stop. And before you rattle off your brilliant solutions, let's at least give him the benefit of the doubt that he unsuccessfully attempted to turn off the ignition and/or drop it into neutral.

Yet, somehow, despite miraculously keeping control of his car, Lecerf also managed to multitask and make an emergency call from his mobile phone.

"So, uh, what are you wearing?"

Soon, several police cruisers caught up to the runaway car to escort it through traffic, and later assist with three toll plazas where they called ahead to have the gates raised.

All things considered, it must have at least been nice to be king for a day.

Emergency services even patched him through to an expert engineer at Renault who tried to help.

"Right. Have you tried using the brakes?"

"Go to hell."

Incredibly, their only hope was for Lecerf to eventually run out of gas. And that's where this story gets truly amazing. Because it took a while.

A long while.

About 125 miles and one country later, just over the French border into Belgium, his car finally sputtered dry and crashed into a ditch. Which actually seems like a rather unnecessary ending after you've already managed to safely avoid tragedy while traversing the entire northern coast of France.

"Welp, might as well dump this thing into a hole."

Lecerf later recounted the seemingly endless horror to the Le Courrier Picard newspaper, describing his emotions during the harrowing journey.

"My life flashed before me," he said. "I just wanted it to stop."

And so it did. Amazingly without any casualties. Though the UK's Guardian newspaper reports that while Lecerf wasn't injured, he did suffer two epileptic seizures.

Not that we're keeping score, but surely that ought to count.

Regardless, everything more or less worked out in the end, and at least he never went flying off a cliff. For Lecerf adhered to the most basic rule of driving: The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.

And sometimes, just for fun ... with a ditch in Belgium.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Apparently This Matters...
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 0225 GMT (1025 HKT)
"What does this thing do?"
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Despite all the political tension in Crimea, it's nice to know things are still safe enough at the zoo for a zebra to get it on with a donkey.
August 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Justin Sylvester's wife is pregnant. With a baby.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0010 GMT (0810 HKT)
There's a famous scene in the movie "Titanic" where Rose turns to Jack and says, "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
For several months in 2003, I did the whole European backpacker thing. Which is to say I've seen nearly every cathedral within 1,000 square miles of the Danube.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
There are two good reasons to own a giant trampoline.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 2251 GMT (0651 HKT)
I would love to say my dog is intellectually qualified to be a service animal. But he's not. There's barely enough brainpower there to be a lamp.
June 8, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
I've never really needed an extra ear.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 2032 GMT (0432 HKT)
I never actually caught a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy when I was young, but she was definitely real and in cahoots with my mom. This, due to the fact that I never woke up to find a Nintendo.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT)
Have you ever seen a man running in a marathon, bleeding from his nipples?
May 16, 2014 -- Updated 1952 GMT (0352 HKT)
Brace yourselves, because this week's story is about sperm and poop.
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
I once stayed at a youth hostel in Copenhagen called Sleep in Heaven. Which sounds quite pleasant until you realize that, apparently, heaven is cold and damp and completely infested with bedbugs.
May 4, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
I'm not a violent man. Short, self-doubting gingers tend not to be the fiercest of creatures.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
For a long time it feels like we haven't seen much of Ronald McDonald. Not for nothing, but I heard he shanked Grimace in a back alley somewhere down in Mexico.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
I haven't had a single Diet Coke in 2014. It was a conscious health decision, and the only real side effect, now, is that the world is awful and I hate everything.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
The art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting animal skins is called taxidermy, and it can range from classy to creepy depending on whether your subject is a moose, or, say, a homeless drifter.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
The July 21, 1969, headline of the New York Times read, "MEN WALK ON MOON."
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
I once uploaded an Instagram of me at Old Navy trying to get all kissy-face with a mannequin. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but she was rather unresponsive.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 2213 GMT (0613 HKT)
I use a Keurig coffee machine at home because I'm lazy. And, quite frankly, don't feel like I've really done my duty to God and country until I've added a little something to the landfill.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
I wouldn't necessarily call myself a true germaphobe, but if entering a domestic partnership with a bottle of Purell were legal I'd certainly consider it.
ADVERTISEMENT