It was never going anywhere NEAR Mars
The comment in the article "The payload was supposed to get into an orbit around the Sun, and skim Mars" is simply WRONG - it was always going to be a heliocentric orbit which just happened to go out as far as Mars! Had they planned to go anywhere near Mars, with a risk of crashing, then they'd have had to spend months sterilising the car for planetary protection.
So the fact that it now happens to go a bit further is no problem, and not an error - in fact they actually said that they'd burn the fuel to exhaustion, and see how far/fast it would go.
Sky News made the same mistake, and it's not surprising from them, but I would have expected better from a space-faring publication