Ferrari sheared in half in accident

Authorities estimate the car was traveling faster than 150 mph, when the driver lost control and smashed into a utility pole.

By Hans Laetz / Special to The Malibu Times

Two men were found standing unhurt next to the scattered wreckage of a Ferrari Enzo early Tuesday morning on Pacific Coast Highway near Decker Canyon Road.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies estimate the car was going faster than 150 mph-perhaps topping 200-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.”

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Deputies who arrived at the scene said neither of the two men 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.

Deputies said one of the men standing next to the wreckage was the registered owner of the expensive exotic vehicle. This man claimed he had allowed a friend, whose name he could not recall, to take the wheel of the car, officers said. Sgt. Phillip Brooks was quoted in a NBC online report saying that the registered owner who claimed he was a passenger had blood on his mouth, and both air bags had deployed in the Ferrari. However, Brooks said only the driver side airbag had blood on it.

Witnesses had seen the red car, estimated to be worth anywhere between $600,000 and $1.2 million, 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.

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

He would not identify himself to the reporter, and said, “I work for the Department of Homeland Security,” in an Eastern European accent. Deputies would not release their names, and said no arrests or citations have been made and the investigation is open.

“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 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.

Scattered telephone and cable outages were also reported.

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

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