FBI not responsible for totaling detained Ferrari

by Walter Olson on October 22, 2011

Because accidents will happen, after all. And, no, you wouldn’t be excused for totaling the FBI’s Ferrari were the sides reversed [Scott Greenfield]

{ 10 comments }

1 John Burgess 10.22.11 at 2:26 pm

I guess the best we can hope for is that this asshattery will show up on their permanent school records.

2 Scott 10.22.11 at 5:45 pm

Totalled? How does a $750,000 car get totalled crashing into some bushes?

Also I’m going to guess these guys were on a joy ride?

3 John Burgess 10.23.11 at 12:22 pm

The car was being seized as evidence. Rather than calling a flatbed truck to carry the car to police storage, the bright boys from Justice decided to drive it there themselves.

The story doesn’t say what kind of bushes, nor describe the geography of the crash site. I can certainly see tearing the undercarriage out of a car by hitting ‘bushes’.

The DOJ/FBI guys must be sacrificing hecatombs of small mammals to their Fairy Godmother, the ‘Sovereign Immunity’.

4 Richard Nieporent 10.23.11 at 3:59 pm

Life imitates art:

When word of the finding of the stolen 1995 Ferrari F50, one of 349 made, in Lexington, Kentucky reached the owner’s insurance carrier, it was cause to celebrate. This was a $750,000 vehicle, and not an inexpensive payout to the Pennsylvania dealer from whom it was stolen. And now it was back in safe hands, the hands of law enforcement and the federal government.

Cameron: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.
Ferris: It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.

On May 27, 2009, FBI Special Agent Frederick C. Kingston got behind the wheel of the Ferrari with by Assistant US Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson in the passenger seat.

Ferris: The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”
Cameron: Please don’t say were not going to take the car home. Please don’t say were not going to take the car home. Please don’t say were not going to take the car home.
Ferris: [to the camera] If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away?
[beat]
Ferris: Neither would I.

“Just a few seconds after we left the parking lot, we went around a curve, and the rear of the car began sliding,” Thompson wrote in an email to a superior. “The agent tried to regain control, but the car fishtailed and slid sideways up onto the curb. The vehicle came to rest against a row of bushes and a small tree. Both myself and the agent exited of our own power.”

Cameron: What’d I do?
Ferris: You killed the car.

5 John Burgess 10.23.11 at 6:43 pm

Anyone want to bet the gas pedal wasn’t against the firewall when the back end ‘started sliding’?

Didn’t think so.

6 Ben Catoe 10.23.11 at 10:25 pm

I would get the sovereign immunity part if it was damaged during official duties or while being towed or such. If there is no legimate reason why they should have been driving it, let alone driving it aggressively, then how does that not punture that protection? By this logic, any agent can go to the evidence locker and damage anything they want with no recourse for the owner ?

Are the agents being disciplined ?

7 mojo 10.24.11 at 2:05 pm

Any burn-out marks on the road?

8 marco73 10.25.11 at 8:12 am

Scott, that Ferrari, because it is so rare, has escalated in value since it was stolen and recovered. The $750,000 is based on an immaculate, pristine vehicle. Most of the parts damaged in the accident, including a bent frame, are not something carried in a parts book. The parts are custom hand made; possibly the dies and machines that created those parts don’t even exist anymore.
Assuming one could talk Ferrari or a qualified vendor into creating duplicate parts, the costs of tooling up for a single part would be significant.
Then you’d have to find someone who can afford to tie up capital and garage space for months while parts are manufactured and installed, and hopefully everything else on the car still works. A car enthusiast like Jay Leno might get into something like that as a project car, but I doubt that the insurance company cares to go into the rebuild business.
Even if restored, it would still not be a pristine vehicle, and its value would be way south of $750,000.

9 OBQuiet 10.25.11 at 12:27 pm

JB: Rather than calling a flatbed truck to carry the car to police storage, the bright boys from Justice decided to drive it there themselves.

That doesn’t seem to jibe with the dates in the article. ITtwas reported recovered in August of ’08 and the accident happened in May ’09.

Richard N: Great memory. Made me laugh.
Bueller? Bueller?

10 Ben Catoe 10.26.11 at 7:39 pm

Good catch OB, I failed to note the dates.

So what is it called when you take a car off the impound lot with no reason? theft? Our federal goverment needs to stop acting as if they are above the law.

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