Ferrari owner loses second exotic car

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A $450,000 Mercedes owned by the Swedish owner of the Enzo Ferrari that crashed in Malibu last month is impounded by police.

By Hans Laetz / Special to The Malibu Times

Just when the rumors, jokes and incorrect news reports seemed to be settling down, the case of the Swedish owner of a rare Enzo Ferrari that was destroyed in a crash in Malibu on Feb. 21 has taken yet another turn, involving another high-priced exotic car.

A Mercedes SLR McLaren, worth more than $450,000, that was reported stolen by Stefan Eriksson last year in Britain was recovered Sunday in downtown Beverly Hills, driven by a woman claiming to be Eriksson’s wife. British police have asked California authorities to hold the car in a possible insurance scam investigation.

Nicole Persson, 33, was pulled over by Beverly Hills Police Sunday afternoon after an officer patrolling Wilshire Boulevard at Beverly Drive noticed it had no North American license plates.

BHPD Lt. Mitch McCann said the Mercedes was impounded and Persson cited for not possessing a valid international or U.S. driver’s license, and for driving a car without valid registration.

“We’re working with Scotland Yard, as this vehicle is considered stolen in their system,” McCann told The Malibu Times.

Persson gave a Bel-Air Crest address to Beverly Hills officers that matched the address given to sheriff’s deputies by Eriksson on Feb. 21, when he was found bloodied and intoxicated next to the wreckage of the $1.2 million Enzo Ferrari scattered over nearly a half mile of Pacific Coast Highway. The Enzo was one of only 400 ever built.

Deputies said Eriksson likely drove the Ferrari at an estimated 162 mph when it hit a power pole and then disintegrated. Photos of the smashed-up Ferrari, Eriksson and another man at the scene, Trevor Karney, were splashed on the front page of newspapers and headed television news around the world.

The Ferrari may have been in the process of being repossessed by the Royal Bank of Scotland at the time of the crash, deputies said. Officials have also been looking for the Mercedes SLR, which had been reported stolen in the U.K. before Eriksson apparently imported it to California.

Meanwhile, DNA tests are expected back this week or next on the blood smears found on the Ferrari’s driver-side airbag, and on a swab that Eriksson surrendered a week after the crash, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Philip Brooks. If the test places Eriksson behind the wheel, Brooks said he will likely be charged with three misdemeanor charges: drunk driving, reckless driving and making a false statement to a police officer. Eriksson had told deputies at the time that a man named Dietrich was the driver of the Ferrari and that he had fled to the hills after the crash. Also, Eriksson had a business card that said he was a deputy commissioner of a small transit agency’s police department in San Gabriel Valley.

Deputies are also discounting news reports published elsewhere that Eriksson, a Swedish national, had gone to Mexico.

“We said he went fishing in the waters off Mexico, he didn’t flee there,” Brooks said. “We have no indication that he has any plans to flee anywhere, he has way too much to lose here in California.”

Brooks also said a recent Los Angeles Times report that there was a video camera in the Ferrari during the wreck was incorrect. That story may have been based on rumors that Enzos were equipped with an onboard camera and black box recording system, or the crash simulation that was released by deputies, Brooks said.

The traffic sergeant said Mercedes engineers have examined the wreckage and confirmed that no recording system was ever installed in Enzos manufactured for use in Europe, such as Eriksson’s vehicle. And Brooks said there is no evidence or witnesses indicating that the two men in the car had a videotape camera on board.

Karney is not considered a suspect in the crash and has returned to his native Ireland, Brooks said.