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post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Police Have More Questions for Ferrari 'Passenger'

By Richard Winton and Bob Pool

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

2:44 PM PST, February 22, 2006

Investigators intend to again interrogate the man who said he was a passenger — not the driver — of the $1 million Ferrari that crashed into a power pole in Malibu and was cut in half, authorities said today.

The man, Stefan Eriksson, told investigators the driver also survived the 120mph crash with minor injuries and fled the scene on foot Tuesday morning before paramedics arrived.

"We're investigating as to who was actually driving," said Sgt. Philip Brooks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department today. "His (Eriksson's) story has inconsistencies that need to be cleared up.

"We will reinterview him to try and clarify," Brooks said this afternoon.
Brooks said witnesses will testify that the Ferrari was racing another car along Pacific Coast Highway.

The investigation has also centered on the ownership of the sports car, Brooks said. "We have quite a few new leads on that."

The red Ferrari Enzo — one of only 400 ever made and worth more than $1 million — broke apart Tuesday when it crested a hill on PCH going 120 mph and slammed into a power pole.

The crash did not result in serious injuries. But it sent shockwaves through both the tabloid and exotic car worlds as one group wondered whether the driver was a celebrity and the other mourned the loss of a hand-built car revered by many as a work of art.

Eriksson, 44, is a Bel-Air resident. Officials are trying to determine whether he is the noted Swedish game designer whose firm, perhaps not surprisingly, was involved with car-racing themed video games.

Authorities said Eriksson said he was a passenger in the Ferrari, which he said was being driven by a German acquaintance he knew only as Dietrich.
One witness told deputies that the Ferrari appeared to be racing with a Mercedes-Benz SLR northbound along the coastal highway when the accident occurred about 6 a.m. west of Decker Road.

Eriksson told authorities that "Dietrich" ran up a hill toward the canyon road and disappeared. Brooks said detectives are far from convinced they have the whole story.

Eriksson "had a .09 blood-alcohol level, but if he's a passenger, that's OK," Brooks said. "But he had a bloody lip, and only the air bag on the driver's side had blood on it. The passenger-side air bag did not. My Scooby-Doo detectives are looking closely into that.

"Maybe the 'driver' had a friend who picked him up. Maybe he thumbed a ride," the sergeant added. "Maybe he was a ghost."

The crash left Ferrari fans anguished. "I'm not surprised the driver ran away. He'd have been strangled by the owner," said Tex Otto, a Santa Monica graphic artist who edits two magazines for Ferrari owners. "This will have a big impact on the local Ferrari community. This was not a car. It was a rolling art form."

Ferrari owner Chris Banning, a Beverly Hills writer who is finishing a book called the "Mulholland Experience" that will touch on the cult of sports car racing on that mountain roadway, characterized the Enzo's destruction as "a tremendous loss" to the automotive world." He destroyed one of the finest cars on Earth, maybe the finest. It's like taking a Van Gogh painting and burning it," said Banning, who is a leader of the Ferrari Owners Club.

Gil Lucero, a Mountain View telecommunications company executive who is president and Pacific region chairman of the Ferrari Club of America, said only 399 Enzos were at first scheduled to be assembled at the factory between 2002 and 2004, each priced at $670,000. But a final car was built and donated to Pope John Paul II and later sold to raise $1,275,000 for charity, Lucero said. "It's a shame this one is gone forever. When one of these is lost, it reverberates through the whole exotic car world," Lucero said.

Ferrari fan Wally Clark, a Villa Park insurance broker who owns two Ferraris -- neither of which is an Enzo -- said used Enzos fetch between $1 million and $1.5 million. "I think the price went up another $100,000 with today's crash," he said.

The Enzo model "is a very serious car" whose 660-horsepower V-12 engine can accelerate from 0 to 65 mph in about four seconds, Clark said. It can exceed 217 mph.

"They'll burn rubber in every gear. You need to know what you're doing if you drive them on the street. You can't be blowing past people at 180 miles per hour on the freeway. You'll cause chain-reaction crashes behind you. I don't know who the yahoos were in it. It's a damn good thing they weren't killed."

Die-hard Ferrari aficionados who viewed TV news footage of the crash said the Enzo's driver-safety system performed exactly as it was designed. "The car has a carbon-fiber tub seating area. The driver's compartment is made of this very tough, lightweight carbon composite and has tremendous seats that really hold you in place," said Times automobile critic Dan Neil, who drove an Enzo at Ferrari's plant in Italy.
"They're very unforgiving cars. High performance but merciless," Neil said.
Websites devoted to exotic cars followed crash developments breathlessly through the day, even posting digital photos and eyewitness accounts sent in by people who passed by the wreck.

Brooks said that no arrests had been made and that little was known about Eriksson. Detectives were also trying to determine whether he was the Stefan Eriksson who has raced Ferraris on European tracks. Detectives are also trying to find the driver of the Mercedes that they think was dueling the Enzo. If their race theory is correct, it won't be the first time a Mercedes beat a Ferrari.

- Los Angeles Times
post #2 of 6
Just had to include that last sentence didn't you.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

direct quote

add? no. 'twas in the copy, young man.

as for bolding it, well...

______________________

McLaren
post #4 of 6

It is now being reported that a NASCAR driver was at the wheel...

...apparently the trouble started when he had to turn right.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

p.s.

Exclusive: Gizmondo Ferrari crashed at 162mph may be Stolen. Eriksson to Walk

Gizmondo exec likely to face Malibu fines. Wider repercussions expected
23rd Feb 2006


As we reported yesterday, Stefan Eriksson, former executive officer of Gizmondo and a convicted fraudster and liar, saw his $1,000,000 Ferrari Enzo smashed to pieces in a high speed crash in Malibu during an illegal street race.
Speaking exclusively to SPOnG today, investigating officers revealed some startling new details on the wreck. Not only has the
suspected speed of the crash been upped to 162 MPH, but it turns out the car is possibly stolen property, exported unlawfully to the US and driven illegally on the roads of California.
"It looks as though the car lifted up and left the highway," Sgt. Phil Brooks of Malibu Sheriff's Department explained. "That's what caused him to lose it. We're looking at the distances travelled, the wreckage and all of that and we've upped the speed to 162 MPH."
Brooks outlined that he's fully aware of Eriksson's history. "I've gotten just about everything on him. The previous prison time, the $290,000,000 or maybe it's a different figure, the Mafia ties – even on some of his colleagues. Believe me, I've been taking calls from London, Sweden, everywhere on this. From the Gizmondo Caper..." And how does this look to Brooks? "They duped them for all their money and walked out."
Continuing on the crash details themselves, Brooks continues, "We have to speak to all the witnesses and get their stories, compare the inconsistencies in [Eriksson's] statements and then reinterview him. And then if necessary we'll have to use physical evidence, possibly blood and collect that, if necessary." Fingerprints too? "All things like that. But you know, the bottom line is he's looking at misdemeanour charges – not felonies. These are charges that would give him a year in county jail, though he'll 99.9% just get a fine. And someone who made $4,000,000 last year from what I'm told, a $1,000 fine isn't really going to do much to him. And the questions is, will the Sheriff's Department spend $500 on forensics for a $1,000 fine..."
Although it looks certain that Eriksson will escape with a slap on the wrist in the US, the further repercussions of so publicly planting himself on the radar might well catch up with him. Not least as, given the Gizmondo exec's history and emerging claims from a UK bank, the Enzo looks to be stolen.
"There are a lot of questions about ownership [of the Ferrari Enzo]. I have the Bank of Scotland telling me they own it. He brought this car and another Ferrari and an SLR Mercedes through customs. They're all show cars – they're not street-legal. So there's issues there but that has to do with crimes elsewhere and they're probably more financial."
And it continues. According to investigating officers,
the Enzo looks to have been illegally obtained in the first place. "Apparently there was some sort of fraudulent financing for it, and allegedly the Bank of Scotland repossessed the vehicle. I'm still awaiting paperwork from them but that appears to be the case." So the Bank of Scotland tried to make good their legal repossession and Eriksson just shipped it the US? "Possibly. I don't know the time lines on that but yes, that's what it looks like. The car still had a European registration – nothing had been done to attempt to give it a Californian registration and he fully knew that he couldn't drive those cars on the street without that."
So what next? Is it possible that you can have such an episode in your life and just walk away uninjured and completely free? "You can take the step and maybe we'll get him behind the wheel as the driver, the other misdemeanours, though, usually will be just a financial penalty."
"And in his case, $2,000 isn't a big deal."
post #6 of 6
I always wanted a Lamborghini.
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