- MALIBU, Calif. - Authorities were investigating the circumstances behind a spectacular crash on Pacific Coast Highway that destroyed a rare Ferrari Enzo that experts said was worth more than $1 million.
Tuesday morning's crash occurred when the driver lost control of the exotic, red automobile at high speed and struck a power pole, investigators said. The car - one of only 400 made - disintegrated, with its engine coming to rest on the highway and its wreckage scattered for hundreds of yards.
Sheriff's investigators identified the owner as Stefan Ericksson, 44, of Bel Air, who escaped the wreckage with only a cut lip. "For $1 million, you get a very good passenger-safety system, and apparently in this case it did work," said Sgt. Philip Brooks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
- Authorities said Ericksson told them that he was a passenger at the time of the crash and that the driver - a German acquaintance he knew only as Dietrich - ran into the nearby hills. A three-hour foot and helicopter search failed to turn up anyone else connected to the car. Officials said they're skeptical of Ericksson's version of events, according to a report in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times.
Ericksson had a blood-alcohol level of .09, slightly more than the legal .08 limit, Brooks said. Additionally, only the driver's side air bag deployed and it had blood on it, he noted. "My Scooby-Doo detectives are looking closely into that," Brooks told the Times. "Maybe the 'driver' had a friend who picked him up. Maybe he thumbed a ride. Maybe he was a ghost."
Ferrari Enzos have a top speed of 200 mph and investigators believe the sports car was traveling at least 100 mph. "And it will probably be a lot more than that once we conclude our investigation," Brooks said.
Ferrari fanatics said they were devastated by the destruction of the 660-horsepower automobile. The cars were made between 2002 and 2004. "He destroyed one of the finest cars on earth, maybe the finest," said Ferrari owner Chris Banning, a Beverly Hills writer who is finishing a book on the cult of sports car racing along winding Mulholland Drive. "It's like taking a Van Gogh painting and burning it."