Driver in fatal crash's frantic call claimed speeding car was stuck in cruise control

The frantic phone call came in to the Thames Valley police in the early hours of Feb. 2.

It was a driver on the M40 in Buckinghamshire-- which is just outside London— saying he had a problem: he said his car, a Skoda Octavia, was stuck in cruise control and he was traveling at high speeds.

“It (the speedometer) shows 70 mph, but I think I am going much going much faster than this,” Kaushal Gandhi, 32, said in the call, heard at an inquest on Thursday, according to The Guardian newspaper.

Police tried to talk Gandhi through the problem during an eight-and-a-half-minute call, but Gandhi appeared to be familiar with the car.

“I am trying. It is not stopping at neutral,” he said, according to The Telegraph. The paper reported that a beep was heard in the background. “I have kept pressing the button, but all it makes is a noise. My speed is increasing. I think what has happened was I tried to change the mode on the car, because I was on the sports mode. I pressed a button to come onto normal mode and then it is not allowing me to do anything.”

He remained on the call until his car slammed into a parked truck at a road merger. The car was travelling at 116 mph with the accelerator pedal fully engaged five seconds before Gandhi collided with the truck at a road merger, according to the report.  Gandhi’s body was reportedly found decapitated.

The car’s data recorder was destroyed in the crash. But Crispin Butler, a senior coroner, said analysis of the car failed to prove any issue with the car. The Guardian reported that a coroner ruled out suicide and a toxicology report showed no substances that would have affected the driving.

Skoda is made by Volkswagen. An examiner from the company also said there was no indication of any issues with the car’s electronic system in the five seconds before the crash.

A police investigator theorized that, if Gandhi was accurate in his description, it would have meant the car had a series of mechanical and electronic failures.