‘Fat Steven’s’ Ferrari crash sparks international intrigue

Authorities now estimate the car was traveling 162 mph, possibly was being repossessed by a Scottish bank and was not street legal.

By Hans Laetz / Special to The Malibu Times

Feb. 24 Web update

Deputies investigating the Tuesday destruction of a $1.2 million Enzo Ferrari said they have taken into evidence the blood-smeared air bag from the driver’s seat, and will again question the Swedish millionaire owner of the car who says he cannot remember how his car was destroyed.

Stefan Eriksson, 44, is a Bel-Air resident who reportedly was convicted of racketeering and counterfeiting in his native Sweden 12 years ago. He was found legally drunk and with a cut lip next to the scattered wreckage of the Ferrari early Tuesday morning on Pacific Coast Highway near Decker Canyon Road. Another man was with him, who claimed not to be a passenger of the car. Authorities have not released his name.

Eriksson was photographed by The Malibu Times with blood on his mouth, and both air bags had deployed in the Ferrari. However, deputies said only the driver-side air bag had blood on it, and deputies at the scene said they suspected that this blood would match Eriksson’s DNA. Eriksson said the driver had fled into the hills.

Newspapers in Stockholm are reporting that Eriksson may have lied to U.S. immigration officers to gain entry into this nation following a string of convictions for serious racketeering charges in Uppsala, Sweden in 1995.

Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet reported that he was then known as a member of an “Uppsala mafia” who went by the name of “Fat Steven.” Eriksson served prison time but then dropped from public sight, according to the Swedish newspaper. Several years later he surfaced as chief technology officer at a British game console company called Gizmondo, which British newspapers say was looted by executives of millions of dollars in inflated salaries, perks like Formula One race cars and other unearned benefits.

The high tech British-American electronic game manufacturing company is being liquidated in Britain this week after what newspapers there call a spectacular collapse.

Sources close to the case have told The Malibu Times that the Bank of Scotland is attempting to find out if Eriksson’s destroyed Enzo is one of two that he imported several years ago as “show cars.”

The Enzos cannot pass U.S. smog standards and therefore cannot be driven on public highways or issued license plates. The source said the Enzo was in the process of being repossessed by the Bank of Scotland.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies Thursday released their findings that the car was going an estimated 162 miles per hour when it began swerving on the highway at 6:06 a.m.

The car went 20 feet up an embankment, smashing into a power pole, before ending up on the highway and shattering into pieces over more than 400 yards. The engine came to a rest in the center of the road, and the passenger compartment continued spinning another 50 yards down the shoulder. The car was severed in half.

“It sounded like a huge lumber truck or something lost its load and started scraping down the highway,” said one highway resident, standing in his driveway surveying the scene. “Stuff was falling everywhere.”

Deputies who arrived at the scene said neither of the two men found at the scene would admit to driving the two-seat car.

“They both said somebody else had been driving the car, and that this driver had run up into the hills,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Peter Charboneau.

A helicopter and several firefighters and deputies searched the area, but found no one.

Eriksson claimed he had allowed a friend, whose name he could not recall, to take the wheel of the car, officers said.

Witnesses had seen the red car speeding through Trancas just before the wreck, deputies said. The two men questioned in the case, however, said the driver of the Ferrari had been racing another car, which allegedly left the scene.

Eriksson admitted to a reporter that he been in it, and had a cut lip from the air bag. The man smelled of alcohol and told a reporter he did not remember what happened.

“At this point we can’t place either of them in the driver’s seat, and unless another witness or somebody turns something else up, we can’t charge them,” Charboneau said.

The sergeant said both men admitted to deputies they were drinking alcohol before the dawn accident.

“We cannot charge someone without either a witness, or circumstances that put him behind the wheel of the car that eliminate the possibility that anyone else was there,” he said.

Dangling power lines and hundreds of pieces of fiberglass and metal meant Pacific Coast Highway was closed to morning commuters for two hours. Southbound traffic backed up more than a mile.

A high-voltage distribution line feeding Decker Canyon and the La Chusa area was destroyed, putting 1,475 homes in the dark temporarily. By midmorning, power had been restored to all but 75 houses in Decker Canyon, Southern California Edison spokesman Tom Boyd said.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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