Driver crashes new $33,000 sports car within minutes

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2000

SOLDOTNA (AP) -- Richard Gregoire apparently couldn't wait to test the acceleration on his new 2001 Pontiac Trans Am Firehawk.

He made it only about a mile or so from a detailer who had put finishing touches on the car Thursday before slamming into a utility pole, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Gregoire, of Homer, admitted he was traveling more than 75 mph in the 45 mph zone, according to troopers, who charged him with reckless driving. He wasn't seriously hurt.

Gregoire picked up the car from the detailer and was heading for the dealership about two and half miles away.

''He made it roughly half way,'' said Shawn Hutchings, general manager at the Hutchings GMC dealership.

''The customer bought the car. He was just bringing it over to complete the financing when it got wrecked.''

The Trans Am was towed to Hutchings' body shop, where an adjuster will examine it, and the insurance carrier will decide its fate.

''It would surprise me if it wasn't totaled,'' Hutchings said. He estimated the car's value at $33,000. Hutchings said Gregoire had expressed interest in ordering a replacement.

Because the sales documents had not been completed, the crashed vehicle still belonged to the dealership.

''It is covered under our insurance. There is no question there,'' Hutchings said.

The utility pole Gregoire hit was a vital one. The crash caused a power outage for about 800 people and also cut some phone service, both for about an hour.

Witnesses described the car's speed as ''extremely high'' before it crashed, according to troopers.

The accident was reported at 12:41 p.m. Thursday. Gregoire was wearing his seat belt and suffered only a bump on the head. Medics from Central Emergency Services responded, examined and released him.

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