A quick update on the story behind that ‘Veyron in the lake’ incident. Most of the comments posted by people who have watched the videos assume that the owner of the Veyron was some billionaire who had more money than sense, but it now emerges that he was a young car dealer who was well known for his love of fast cars.
The following quote comes from the Galveston Daily Dews;
LA MARQUE — Police on Friday identified a Lufkin man who accidentally drove a $2 million Bugatti Veyron, a rare automobile that is perhaps the world’s fastest, into a saltwater lagoon.
Andy Lee House, 34, owner of Performance Auto Sales, told The Daily News on Wednesday that a low-flying pelican distracted him, causing him to jerk the steering wheel a bit — and he then dropped his cell phone.
The crash, however, was captured by someone filming the car as it traveled on the northbound frontage road of Interstate 45 about 3 p.m. Wednesday. The man filming was traveling north on I-45. No pelican was visible in the video, which shows the car veering from the road and splashing in the lagoon.
With the Veyron in more than 2 feet of saltwater, House declined to give his name at the scene near Omega Bay.
Driver Offers Thanks
House posted a comment to The Lufkin Daily News, thanking everyone who was worried about him and the car.
“I have taken my exotic cars to school events, rallies, and allow anyone to take pictures of my cars and even rides in them,” House wrote. “I have allowed many people into my home to see my cars that I don’t even know. … Say what you want about me, but there is a man in heaven right now looking over me and that’s all that matters!”
The 2006 Veyron is thought to have been one of only 200 made and one of only 15 in the United States.
Police Report Released
A police report, made public Friday, lists House as the driver and owner. The pelican caught his eye as it was quite close to colliding with the car, House said. House never said he was using the cell phone at the time. Dropping it added to the distraction just enough, sending the front passenger wheel off the road and into the soft, sloppy, muddy shoulder.
A Daily News reporter arrived at the scene about 15 minutes after the car entered the water just in time to see the gurgling exhaust stop bubbling like an outboard motor as the 1,001 horsepower engine died.
House, who was looking at real estate in Galveston the day of the crash, was not injured. The Veyron is capable of speeds of more than 253 mph, but House hadn’t risked driving it on a private fast track to test the limits, namely because the insurance company wouldn’t cover any resulting mishap, he said.
Insurance Company Takes Car
House called Gilbert Harrison, the tow truck driver who carefully winched the Veyron from the lagoon, telling him it was OK to release the car Friday to the insurance company. No information on the extent of the damage to the car’s electrical system, engine and components was available.
Harrison remembered House saying his phone rang frequently after the crash. House seemed quite calm, Harrison said.
“What I told him was I’d be as gentle as possible,” Harrison said of the tow that cost less than $1,000. “I did this tow like I do every car — like it was my own.”
According to the Lufkin Daily News, the owner Andy Lee House purchased the Veyron, carrying a $1.25 million price tag, from a dealer last month.
Last week House brought the car to Air Cooled Engines in Lufkin to show store employees — a usual occurrence whenever he got something new, according to 20-year employee Alan Arrowood. Arrowood said he’s sad to hear the negative things that have been said about House, calling him a “nice guy.”
“He brought that Bugatti by here last week and we all got to sit in it and look at it — a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Arrowood said. “He’s a really nice guy. Last year he brought by a Ford GT to show us. That was a nice car.”
The car was insured through Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance, according to the La Marque Police report. An insurance sales agent with the Grundy Agency, the company that underwrites for Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance, said that it would cost around $8,000 yearly to insure a 2006 Bugatti Veyron. “There’s no coverage limit but typically the vehicle would be insured for the value,” Grundy Agency sales agent Lauren Gindele said. “Also, policies are paid yearly and not monthly.”
Sounds like the Veyron driver, Andy Lee House made a genuine mistake and however stupid it might seem in hindsight our sympathies go out to him. He must be gutted.