Late to this one. But for the California patrolman crash, here's my understanding
1) the throttle pedal was stuck (or there was a different issue with the same result).
2) the car was a loaner. The PRNDL had a detent for manu-matic shifting, and the N mark was very close to the "+" mark on the shift lever
3) the car did not have a keyswitch, but a push button. The push button needed to be held down for three seconds before shutting down a running engine. This function may not have been in the operators manual. Either way, it is a very serious thing from a controls perspective to shut down an engine when there are conflicting indications.
4) I thought the passenger was doing the phoning?
On a related note, a consumer magazine checked two German cars with electronic throttles as well as an HHR. The German cars (a VW and BMW) closed the throttle when both the throttle and brake were applied. The Toy and HHR behaved like their analog predecessors. Also, IIRC, both the German cars shut the engine off (with a non-zero vehicle speed) if the on/off button was jabbed three times in quick succession.
I do not know how GM's push button start works, but I'll bet from now on EVERY on/off switched car will have prominent warnings and a "Jab-panic" mode to act as a kill switch.
Of course, I might be responding to something entirely different, in which case I beg an apology.