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BMW M5 Crashes, Kills 5
January 29, 2008 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Did you hear about the BMW M5 crash that occurred in Ocala, Florida over the weekend? (video - with a car advertisement opening, ironically). The five teenagers in the car flew 200 feet off an airport runway, then hit a tree, splitting the car in half. What you may not have heard of was that the driver, Josh Ammirato, was an active member of m5board.com, an online BMW M5 forum community. AmericanM5, he was known by, had posted only a day before the crash, asking about rough shifts when exceeding 140MPH. The thread about his crash. Edmunds Inside Line has full details of story, including map of the accident.
posted by patr1ck (252 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
EPIC FAIL.
posted by notmydesk at 3:11 PM on January 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


It always sucks when an online community loses one of it's members, however poor the circumstances. This certainly reminded me to drive safe, and hope others are doing the same.
posted by patr1ck at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2008


five teenagers in the car flew 200 feet off an airport runway

I definately misunderstood that when I first read it.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The accident site is the same airstrip that John Travolta uses to land his Boeing. It's an integral part of the gated community where he lives.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:14 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't have a lot of sympathy for rich kids who do stupid things. It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for incredibly privileged youth.
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:18 PM on January 29, 2008


Is going to the m5board forums and reading through the threads akin to virtual rubbernecking?
posted by benzo8 at 3:22 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:22 PM on January 29, 2008


Sad.

Kids don't need money to do stupid things.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2008


Damn, that's funny. That's where my parents moved to for retirement. I'll have to ask them if they heard about that.
posted by daq at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2008


It's nice that Rudy Giuliani took time out of campaigning in Florida to go and put on a State Trooper's uniform and fake moustache and to describe what happened for us.
posted by Flashman at 3:26 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course they heard about it.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:26 PM on January 29, 2008


Sucks.
posted by chillmost at 3:26 PM on January 29, 2008


There's really no "."

It sucks, but easily preventable... An M5? At 18? Really? That just is not a good call, no matter what your standards of parenting. If you, as a parent, can't tell that giving up a 400+ HP car to your 18 year old, MALE offspring isn't a good idea... Really?

*shakes head*
posted by Cathedral at 3:27 PM on January 29, 2008 [13 favorites]


*Wince*
posted by Phire at 3:28 PM on January 29, 2008


I don't have a lot of sympathy for rich kids who do stupid things. It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for incredibly privileged youth.

Nice.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


If they had an aircraft takeoff rocket booster strapped to the back of the car, then I'm afraid snopes has already debunked this Darwin Award as an urban legend.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm glad they have John Travolta's residence clearly marked on the accident map in the last link, since that's completely relevant to the accident.
posted by nzero at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Cars are very good at offering a seriously dangerous illusion of safety , so I guess initiatives like this rollover simulator are badly in need .

Side note: good to see cops doing education by suggestion , instead of conditioning by stick & tear gas.
posted by elpapacito at 3:32 PM on January 29, 2008


While it's easy to write this off as rich boys with expensive toys, that's all pretty superficial and might say more about you than it does about the event. You can probably get a used Honda to go that fast, too.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:32 PM on January 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wow, it would be shocking to have a member of your community die in such a visible manner.
Sad, indeed.

Though I have to ask; how the hell did they get access to a runway to drive that fast on, and what was a tree doing anywhere nearby. Were they at the very edge of the tarmac or something?
posted by quin at 3:32 PM on January 29, 2008


why wasn't john travolta there to help? clearly he wasn't paying attention during tom's video.
posted by hazel at 3:32 PM on January 29, 2008 [42 favorites]


If you, as a parent, can't tell that giving up a 400+ HP car to your 18 year old MALE offspring isn't a good idea... Really?

FTFY.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:33 PM on January 29, 2008


Though I have to ask; how the hell did they get access to a runway to drive that fast on

The community they live in has a private runway. It's for people who own their own planes and want to be able to fly into/out of their neighborhood.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for rich kids who do stupid things

But if it was poor kids who did a stupid thing and died (happens just as often), then you would have sympathy? Fucked up.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:33 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


500 hp + 140 mph + 18 = -5.
Josh's dad is a dolt.
posted by Floydd at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the first thread, and presumably before the accident:

I would be much prefer an 18 year old with brains to have an M5 rather than spend his moeny on some other piece of junk that could kill him and his mates in an accident.
posted by swift at 3:36 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


500 hp + 140 mph + 18 = -5.
Josh's dad is a dolt.


Interesting point. I wonder if the families of the other four boys have a negligence case here?
posted by nzero at 3:37 PM on January 29, 2008


No, you can't really get a used run of the mill Honda to compete with a 500 HP BMW M series sedan. No, not really. A tuned S2000, perhaps.

The problem is, as one of the posters on the M5 forums said, the physics. It took the car X distance to get up to speed, and y distance to stop from that speed. x+y ended up being extremely close to the end of the runway. He went a few miles per hour too fast, or waited a second or two too long. Because the 'used Honda' deltas are so much lower, there is more room for safety...
posted by Cathedral at 3:37 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The community they live in has a private runway.

That would do it, thanks.

MALE offspring

Aren't teenage girls typically considered more proficient/ less aggressive drivers? Isn't that why their insurance is usually lower?

Or is this just a really common misconception? I honestly am not sure.
posted by quin at 3:38 PM on January 29, 2008


Probably a good idea to actually know where the end of the runway is if you're going to do speed trials on it. Maybe put some flares out or something.
posted by puke & cry at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2008


FTFY.

YMMV.

(sorry...)

Poor, dumb kids. There but for the grace of, etc.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on January 29, 2008


The Light Fantastic writes "It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for incredibly privileged youth."

Neither will I , but I will cry one for them as ordinary idiots.

BUT , don't fall victim to the illusion that this kind of accident may only happened to spoiled ultrarich brats, you don't need a car that accelerates rapidly to kill yourself exactly the same way these guys did, except the spectacular flying and the complete destruction of the car structure of course.
posted by elpapacito at 3:40 PM on January 29, 2008


Is anyone else not really sure what this post is doing here?
posted by odinsdream at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I second ZaneJ. Moronic rich kids putting their parents through hell.
posted by littlerobothead at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2008


He was stupid, but he had fun. I sincerely doubt that my death will be as memorable or thrilling. The recklessness of youth is an essential part of the human experience.

I'll be drinking beer tonight. One of those beers will be for him. Fuck the haters; he can't hear them now, and all our flaws and failings are really moot points in death.
posted by koeselitz at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


CitrusFreak: a year or two ago, an 18yo rich girl did something similar here (though not involving airstrips) - rolling her expensive convertible sports car whilst driving way over the speed limit in a suburban street, and killing - from memory - two of her friends. Received quite a light sentence, for what it's worth - a year or so in prison for manslaughter & negligent driving causing death (I think the reasoning was that she had suffered enough already).

On the other hand, don't all the stats show that young males are the worst offenders for this sort of thing?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:44 PM on January 29, 2008


I am looking for statistics right now, but IIRC, the delta between male and female teen drivers is quite startling.
posted by Cathedral at 3:46 PM on January 29, 2008


Aren't teenage girls typically considered more proficient/ less aggressive drivers? Isn't that why their insurance is usually lower?

I wouldn't say more proficient, exactly, but certainly less aggressive. Almost anything is less aggressive than an 18-year-old male.

Okay, maybe not starving velociraptors, but still.

It doesn't end with being a teenager, either - as a 27-year-old single male with a single literal fender-bender on his record, my car insurance rates even in Massachusetts' extremely regulated market are literally *insane*.
posted by Ryvar at 3:46 PM on January 29, 2008



Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I'd raced a 500HP vehicle along a private airstrip when I was 18 I'd have zero dollars.
posted by unSane at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


haha. There are three notes on the map, and one is "John Travolta's House"
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Guess it's time to re-read "Musée des Beaux Arts" as an epitaph of sorts.
posted by pax digita at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sucks, but easily preventable... An M5? At 18? Really? That just is not a good call, no matter what your standards of parenting. If you, as a parent, can't tell that giving up a 400+ HP car to your 18 year old, MALE offspring isn't a good idea... Really?

+++
Seriously. More money than brain cells.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2008


Tch, his posts in the original thread claimed the BMW was his own, he was a safe driver, and he would never endanger the lives of others. Bastard.

I feel sympathy for their families and for the passengers. I have no sympathy for the driver, who lied to his friends that he knew what he was doing when he tested out the airstrip. One less entitled, cocky asshole in the world.
posted by schroedinger at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


is it just me, or is that m5 board beyond hideous? With the dancing emoticons and gigantic amounts of whitespace caused by posters' car pictures? Are all message boards like that? No wonder I never visit any.

He was stupid, but he had fun.


And he killed four of his friends.
posted by rtha at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Damn, that's funny.

Um, no. No it's not. Not at all.
posted by dersins at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


In high school, I had a friend who's parents were in the middle of a messy divorce. Dad bought my friend a porche 911, his mom bought him a VW golf. This being the 80's, there was zero chance his dad was getting custody, and of course mom wouldn't let him keep the 911 at her house, so he only got to drive it when he'd visit his dad twice a year. I didn't keep exact records, but it sure seemed like 9/10 times he drove the porche, he got arrested for driving like an idiot. He never got pulled over in the golf.

I never got to ride in the 911 with him, but I know how he drove the golf.

There's something to be said for giving your child a vehicle they can't get 0-60 in .5 seconds.
posted by nomisxid at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


A bit off topic, but now I'm wondering...could a typical 18yo man, armed only with a knife, (say, six or eight inches long) be trained to consistently "win" fights with a starving velociraptor? Assume no element of surprise.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2008 [16 favorites]


Also, I think it's a little callous to write this off as "stupid rich kid got what he deserved" when four of his friends also died. Driving quickly down an airstrip doesn't seem like something that's too dangerous as long as you know when you're going to run out of track, which this kid didn't. I'm sure his friends expected him too, though.
posted by delmoi at 3:55 PM on January 29, 2008


"The five teenagers in the car flew 200 feet off an airport runway, then hit a tree, splitting the car in half."

Yes, but were they alright?!
posted by markkraft at 3:55 PM on January 29, 2008


My son is eight. He is fearless, too quick to anger, an adrenaline junkie, does not believe in gravity, and does not take advice. I think of him whenever I read a story like this.
posted by LarryC at 3:56 PM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's something to be said for giving your child a vehicle they can't get 0-60 in .5 seconds.

This is why every kid should be given a '92 Ford Taurus as their first car. Worked wonders for me. The only time I ever got to "peel out" is on icy roads. Stupid front wheel drive.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:56 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seconded odinsdream. Reckless driving kills people all the time. Many of them contribute to online communities. Nothing noteworthy here unless you're a tricked-out-motorhead.

Nonetheless, he is to be commended for commiting autocide on closed pavement instead of endangering other drivers a public roadway.
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:57 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, let's all take turns kicking the dead kids.
Let's kick their grieving parents, too.
Might as well kick their dog, while you're at it.

This is me kicking you in the balls and asking, "Hurts, don't it?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:58 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't judge these kids. I did some stupid, stupid things as a teenager, and I was lucky to have survived them. If I had been given access to a machine like that, yeah, they probably would have had to scrape me off the pavement with a spatula. I can only thank God that my parents decided that if I was so determined to remove myself from the gene pool, I wasn't going to be taking any luxury imports with me.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:59 PM on January 29, 2008


A bit off topic, but now I'm wondering...could a typical 18yo man, armed only with a knife, (say, six or eight inches long) be trained to consistently "win" fights with a starving velociraptor? Assume no element of surprise.

Eighteen-year-old males

Velociraptor

No.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2008 [19 favorites]


I did some stupid, stupid things as a teenager, and I was lucky to have survived them.

Yeh, I'm just glad that a 1200cc Beetle doesn't really get out of second gear all that often with eight people on board. Otherwise that oversteer & rear-wheel-tuck when you take corners too fast could be a bit dangerous. Especially with a bottle of vodka in your belly. From what I've heard.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on January 29, 2008


Also, I think it's a little callous to write this off as "stupid rich kid got what he deserved" when four of his friends also died.

Personally, that's exactly *why* I'm inclined to write this off as 'stupid rich kid who got what he deserved'. If it was just himself he was putting in jeopardy, I might be less judgemental about him, but the fact that he's visited enormous tragedy and grief, not only on his own family, but also on the families of four other kids really stretches any ability I might have had to grieve for him.

That said, I think his parents are more to blame than he is. What kind of moron lets their kid go crazy in a brand new M5?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2008


CPB - Oh, just fuck off. It's not about kicking anyone. It's about something that anyone with the barest speck of sense would know. It's about the fact that if you were a responsible parent, the only way that an 18 year old kid would get in that car is if you were with him...

I've done autocross, HPDEs, driving schools, etc... I drive a decently fast car. I am confident in my skills and my chosen platform... There is NO WAY I would be doing 140 with 4 friends in my car for any reason. Any reason at all. This is called maturity and experience.

The parents of the poor dead kid should have known where this was going from the second they handed him the keys...
posted by Cathedral at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can imagine the through process that led him doing this to show off to his buddies how fast the car can go, and how quickly it can stop. I wouldn't be surprised if he had done this before on the same runway.

However, when he did it the practice times, probably working his way up to the higher speeds, he did it by himself. Not with 4 other, 150-200lb people in the car. Which would add another 600 to 800 lbs and possible extend his acceleration and stopping distance, more likely taking longer for him to get to speed, and then realizing too late that he didn't have enough distance to stop. (I don't know how magical the M5 is, but most cars handle differently with 5 people in them vs one).

Looking at this diagram, it appears they didn't know how much run way they had, or it could be used as a demonstration that physics is a harsh mistress.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:13 PM on January 29, 2008 [10 favorites]


If I'd had a private airstrip handy you can bet I'd have been attempting to do the same thing when I was a teenager. They were on an airstrip! Not a highway. They weren't threatening any other lives. What more do you want?

I hope his passengers were just as stoked on the thrill- if not they're victims plain and simple. If they were- well, I'm sorry for the parents, but I hope I go in a manner as fun as they did!
posted by small_ruminant at 4:13 PM on January 29, 2008


Let me say I am beginner when it comes to high performance cars as I am only 18 so take it easy on me.

is nowhere near as good as

i told u i was hardcore
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:15 PM on January 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Seconded odinsdream. Reckless driving kills people all the time. Many of them contribute to online communities. Nothing noteworthy here unless you're a tricked-out-motorhead.

It's not often that someone dies doing something with a history on an online community of talking about doing the things that got them killed. Posting about rough shifting at 140mph the night before the crash? That's pretty incredible and rare.

If it happens "all the time" I dare you to find more than one other example like this. It's a pretty horrible story but the online component makes it interesting.
posted by mathowie at 4:17 PM on January 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


D4rwN'D!
posted by sourwookie at 4:22 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the car had been on a treadmill, would they have crashed?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:23 PM on January 29, 2008


mrzarquon's probably spot on the money.

he'd done it alone before, and had 160 or whatever as the money speed, rather than paying attention to landmarks along the runway as indicators of when to hit the brakes.

being young, he didn't take into account the fact that 4 extra people make a big difference to a car's performance. that's something you really only get with experience, because in all your life of being ferried around in your parents' cars, you come to think that they always handle the same; the car is seen to be all-powerful. it takes a few scares sliding out with people on board before you realise just how differently a car - any car - handles when full of passengers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:23 PM on January 29, 2008


It's a pretty horrible story but the online component makes it interesting.

Yeah, this is why this is still up and hasn't been deleted. Not everyone puts up public notice of their means of death online UNKNOWN EVEN TO THEMSELVES. His protestations of being a safe driver are tragically ironic.

And while I think the kid obviously had poor judgement, most other 18 year old guys are spared this fate through the lack of an M5 rather than by having better judgement.
posted by GuyZero at 4:25 PM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Because it needs to be said...


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by notsnot at 4:25 PM on January 29, 2008


When I was 20 I got a ticket for going 120 in the rain late at night on I95 near Providence. No other cars around. Except the cop behind the bridge abutment. I was in a 1972 Plymouth Satellite Sebring with a 318 small block V8. I was, at the time, a poor kid (the Sebring cost me $500, as I recall, and was rusting out). And as the cop said, he clocked me at 120 (my speedometer was pinned) with my brake lights on.

God knows what I would have done with a private airstrip and an M5.

So as a former reckless young male driver (I haven't gone over 100 in a decade, except for once last year in a Pontiac G6 coupe on an empty, dry, straight West Texas 2 lane with about 10 miles of forward visibility, and then I got nervous at about 105mph) I will also raise a beer to this moron. He he he, yeah buddy.

But he *is* (as I was) still a moron, and doing this with four friends in the car with you? Priceless.

Speed kills, man.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:26 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]



Before giving him the car, Dad should have sent him to racing school - like Skip Barber- to learn things like threshold braking and how to handle a car at the limit.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 4:27 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


My car was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. And MAN did we do some dangerous things in that car just to see if we could. Fortunately, my mom put me in a tank. If we'd have hit a tree, the tree would've lost.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:28 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even Skip Barber can be defeated by the monstrous testosterone flooded being that is the 18 year old male driver... Trust me, I know from experience. But I wasn't in a quasi-supercar... Hence why I am still here.
posted by Cathedral at 4:30 PM on January 29, 2008


I see this all the time, fathers living vicariously through their sons. How else do you explain giving a kid a hot rod like that?

On a lower socioeconomic scale, I saw that all the time on a board I used to frequent when I was restoring my old Ford truck. Guys talking about the huge engine, etc., they were getting ready to drop into their kid's truck.

A few kids can actually handle that. Most cannot.

(Besides, what are you teaching your kid about life when you hand him a car that costs more than most people make in a year for his 18th birthday? Life really is different for the rich, I guess.)
posted by maxwelton at 4:32 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


miss lynnster: no bragging rights for you.

you would have had the element of surprise against the tree.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reports indicate that Ammirato had received four traffic citations in the last two years.

And the dad still let him drive the monster car? Ugh.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 PM on January 29, 2008


Five people you don't know died in FLorida, hand wringing at 11.

This is local news and should stay that way.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:37 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Looking at this diagram, it appears they didn't know how much run way they had

Considering their tender age, the driver's relative inexperience, and the less-than-ideal nighttime conditions, all combined with the potentially lethal horsepower of such a high-end sportscar, when I see the exact layout of the crash site as shown so clearly in that diagram it really surprises me that John Travolta's house isn't bigger.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:38 PM on January 29, 2008 [30 favorites]


A thought that just came to me: the "think of the children!!!" crowd loves to talk about motorcycles and tiered licensing. Why is it that no one talks about tiered licensing for high-powered cars? (If this kid had been a motorcycle nut he'd only have killed one of his friends.) Maybe just horsepower limits for young male drivers. Hell, maybe just real driving school if you want to drive high-powered cars, any age or sex.

I think that getting a driver's license should involve as much training as getting a pilot's license. A Piper Cherokee is much safer and simpler than an M5, and flying lessons make you a better driver. (Anyone that can afford an M5 can certainly afford an airplane.)

Disclaimer: I am an airplane and motorcycle nut.
posted by phliar at 4:39 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I was 16-17 my friend drove a great big piece-of-shit hoopty. We used to go down the road going about 35-40 miles an hour, and I would climb out the shotgun window, crawl across the roof and slide into the driver's seat just as my friend slid over to shotgun.

It was tons of fun -- what can I say, I was stupid drunk on testosterone. I got lucky; these kids didn't. Money has nothing to do with it.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:39 PM on January 29, 2008


This is really a shame. I understand why people react this way, it's easy to be callous and laugh at another's death. It's whistling past the graveyard, man. But on another level, I understand this-- I took a lot of risks when I was 18 or so. I could have died countless times, and while I don't believe in a God the others might, it's still a MIRACLE I'm here to type this today. Seriously. I'm certainly guilty of saying inappropriate things about people I consider to be real jerks, even in obituary threads, but wtf? What did this kid do to you? A bunch of kids are dead, because of stupidity, yes, but how many of us are so perfect at that age?

.

posted by exlotuseater at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I fail at typography.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2008


phliar: Why is it that no one talks about tiered licensing for high-powered cars?

We have that here. For the first three years of having your license there's a limit on power-to-weight and power-to-occupancy ratios. Of course, we also have all these laws against guns, and talking on cellphones while driving... so I expect the answer to your question is 'FREEDOM!1!eleventy1'.
posted by pompomtom at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I see my last line's assumption is unwarranted, reading a bit more.

Still, I wasn't even allowed to drive the family Buick, and one of my friends whose dad was wealthy (and said dad owned the equivalent of the M5 of the day) knew in no uncertain terms he would be hung by his nethers if he ever "borrowed" the car. So it's hard to get my mind around the idea that a responsible parent would let their kid out in a hugely powerful car, especially to hang out with other kids and go to a party.
posted by maxwelton at 4:44 PM on January 29, 2008


UbuRoivas: A bit off topic, but now I'm wondering...could a typical 18yo man, armed only with a knife, (say, six or eight inches long) be trained to consistently "win" fights with a starving velociraptor? Assume no element of surprise.

Considering actual velociraptors (as opposed to the things in Jurassic Park) weighed something like 35 lb., he'd have pretty good odds without any special training and without the knife.

I guess this means that a BMW M5 is more dangerous than a velociraptor.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:46 PM on January 29, 2008


Cars are very good at offering a seriously dangerous illusion of safety, so I guess initiatives like this rollover simulator are badly in need.

I just got my license a few months ago, and here in Sweden part of the [long] license-obtaining process is a requirement for all applicants to take a 3-hour safety course which mostly consists of practical exercises that teach you about stopping distances, especially during slippery conditions. We also got to experience what it's like to use a handbrake at high speeds, what a huge difference just +/-20kph can mean in case you have to swerve in an emergency, etc.

However, it also included a rollover simulator which was interesting to experience. We didn't get tumbled around like in the video, but being upside down with a seatbelt on.. eesh. Our instructors also gave us some instructions on what to do in case we ever find ourselves in that situation, or have to retrieve someone out of a flipped car.

In addition to that, they had a 7kph crash simulator which was.. unpleasant yet informative. And finally we got to see various crashed cars up close, including a Volvo that'd smacked straight into a moose.
posted by pyrex at 4:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


He was stupid, but he had fun. [. . .] Fuck the haters; he can't hear them now

He killed four other people. His family, and the families of the four people he killed, will have to live with this void in their lives forever.

Think about that while you kick back that brew tonight and tell me if you still admire what happened here.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:50 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Of course, if this guy had come to AskMe, anyone with concerns about his safety based on his age and perceived immaturity would have been told to take it to MetaTalk and stick to answering the question.
posted by kyleg at 4:52 PM on January 29, 2008 [11 favorites]


I've been reading this thing thinking that some rich kids just Darwined themselves, and then I remembered that I did nearly the exact same thing when I was 20.

Me and three friends in my mom's '95 Eagle Talon, doing about 110 down rural roads around 4:00am, thinking that the intersection I was approaching was a cross intersection, when actually it was a T intersection.

"Shit"......................was the only thing that was spoken as the car launched itself over an 18' wide ditch, through a cattle fence, and skidded to a halt 305' out in the middle of a cow pasture. Somehow we didn't roll, and the only injury was the front passenger's mild concussion, because the airbag shoved his 40oz into his forehead. You could see the bruise for a few days where the mouth of the bottle nailed him right between the eyes.

I was on fuckin' cloud 9 for about a week. I was invincible. It was like I took a thousand tabs of X and it was going to last for the rest of my life. Nobody could touch me; I was one with the universe; I had seen death and cheated it; I knew the true meaning of life and I knew that we have to appreciate every second that we're blessed with on this earth. My parents showed me no pity and I bought a bike to get from my duplex to classes and to work. I didn't care: I was enlightened.

But that high can't last forever, and after a week my emotions crashed. Hard. I wasn't a lucky cocky bastard driver. I was an ass. A total shit. A fuckwad who should have killed four people, but by the grace of physics and luck, somehow didn't.

I got very, very lucky. Not just because I didn't die, or end up in a coma, or kill three other people, but because we all walked away and at least I now appreciate just how fucking stupid speed is, at least on public roads with a dumbass testosterone-fueled fucknut behind the wheel.

So yeah, some young male was being a dumb young male and killed four people in the process. That should have been me ten years ago, but for a variety of reasons it wasn't, and four sets of parents didn't have to grieve, but instead just had to shake their heads at me and say "you're so fucking stupid" while I grinned and told them how happy I was to be alive.

My mom was soooo fucking livid the entire day after she found out. She was mountfuckingvesuvius all day, until we got out to the junkyard to pull our valuables out of the car, and that's when she saw just how totaled the vehicle was, and then she just held me. For five solid minutes. In a junkyard. Crying. Happy that she hadn't yet outlived her firstborn.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:54 PM on January 29, 2008 [66 favorites]


Terrible, terrible post.
posted by glycolized at 4:58 PM on January 29, 2008


I've always heard the strengths of BMWs are acceleration and handling, not all-out speed on a straightaway.

A few years ago, my mate heard a big crash in the middle of the night (I sleep through everything), but when she dashed outside everything was OK, though she was puzzled to see a little red sports car on a side street stopped with its lights on and engine running on a side street just north of our house, dripping like it just came out of a car wash, and finally came back in and went back to sleep.

We found out the next day that a teenage boy had crashed into a light pole on the big arterial behind our house and been killed (I told her instantly, though I still don't know that for sure, because she was already blaming herself for not looking around more throughly and calling an ambulance) 50 ft. up the street from the edge of our backyard.

He left a set of two intermittent parallel gouges in the asphalt about nine inches apart and ~100 ft. long in a perfectly straight line leading to the pole that I took to be the marks of a rim after a tire blew and was torn off. By the next afternoon there was a mound of flowers 3 feet high around the base of the pole, and for several weeks thereafter, and a white wooden cross appeared, strapped to the pole with metal bands about 10 feet off the ground, with 'Boyko' written in block letters on the cross bar. The city cut it off after a week, but it came back 3 more times before whoever was doing it gave up.

I had wondered about that particular pole, because it was made of a blackened iron instead of wood like all the others on this street, but when I was looking at the gouges in the asphalt, which began a few yards after the roadway changes direction, I realized it was perfectly positioned to intercept a car that continued in a straight line rather than following the curve of the road, before it could hit the house just off the road on the corner of the cross street.

I guess I agree with the decision to put a pole such as that there, but I hope his family did not see it and draw the same conclusions I did.
posted by jamjam at 4:58 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Perusing the article, they were out at three am.

Obviously parents did not know where they were.

This is so sad. I don't blame the kid as much as I do the parent who thinks that giving his or her son that kind of car is a good idea. But in that income bracket, there's peer pressure-on both generations-so that explains some of the stupidity, I guess.

What a high price to pay for a) not being a genius in physics and b) buying your kid way too much car.
posted by konolia at 4:59 PM on January 29, 2008


When I was 17, my otherwise ultra-conservative-in-parenting, super-frugal parents bought me a v8 Mustang, that year's model. To this day, I have no idea WTF they were thinking. While I like cars and liked going fast, that car scared the crap out of me and when I sold it a dozen years later, it didn't have a ding or a speeding ticket on it. I traded it for an Accord.

My son will be getting a 12 year old Volvo with deliberately dirty valves and quite possibly square wheels.
posted by jamaro at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2008 [10 favorites]


phliar: I think that getting a driver's license should involve as much training as getting a pilot's license.

Seriously, do you realize how much a pilot's license costs? Probably 80% of the population wouldn't ever be able to afford one, and most of the rest would have to save up for it for years or take out massive loans.

Doing this would make the economy collapse in a spectacular fashion.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2008


UbuRoivas writes "being young, he didn't take into account the fact that 4 extra people make a big difference to a car's performance. "

Being ignorant, rather. Clearly, we all are born as such and youngster are often more then elders, but that's not always true. They're fed all the shit about the life of Paris, but dammit if they (actually, I just recently discovered him) were fed Carl Sagan and some elements of physics, who knows..like the fact that with 4 more people he had a lot more mass to brake.

fourcheesemac writes "Speed kills, man."

Don't tell the millions of passenger on airplanes :) !
posted by elpapacito at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2008


His parents don't have anything to do with it. The kid was 18 -- an adult, even by American standards. And I very much doubt he forced his four friends into the car at gunpoint or that they had no knowledge of what the little midnight ride would involve. This is young men being stupid and having fun by risking their lives. When I was his age I did stuff that was, believe it or not, even more dangerous and came very, very, very close to a terrible, fiery death. It was incredible and it's not the sort of thing you actually regret. Putting aside all the petty resentment about his wealth, this is a tragedy and it reminds me to be very grateful that I made it out of 18 alive.
posted by nixerman at 5:01 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


"We have that here. For the first three years of having your license there's a limit on power-to-weight and power-to-occupancy ratios. Of course, we also have all these laws against guns, and talking on cellphones while driving... so I expect the answer to your question is 'FREEDOM!1!eleventy1'"

I dunno. Once you factor out the gang bangers and drug related killings, the number of teens dying because of firearm related accidents is very very low. WAY more kids die from car wrecks and too many times it's due to an inexperienced driver with.. well, "too much car." 17 year old teenage girls driving Daddy's GMC Denali, high schoolers getting new Ford Mustangs, etc. Drive around some of the high schools in Cupertino, CA and check out the rides. Jaguars in the student parking lot? Range Rovers?

Personally, I think that teenagers should be required to complete more stringent drivers education courses and shouldn't be allowed to drive anything with more horsepower than a Toyota Corolla until they're 21. It's too easy to get a license. All I had to do in California was show up at the DMV and pass the stupidly simple written test and drive around the block. WAY too easy.
My motorcycle drivers license in Japan was at least a challenge and so was the driving/road test.
posted by drstein at 5:06 PM on January 29, 2008


This is shockingly poor judgment (assuming it was consensual) of the parent to give the keys to such a car to an 18 year old kid. Period.

Add '18 year old kid with no relevant driving experience' (ie no 8 years racing karts and 3 racing cars): good idea ---

Add 'letting him have the keys to go to a party': - good idea --

Add "And I'll be giving all my mates a lift": good idea ------- Peer pressure will make even the slightest bit of a good idea seem an excellent one when all your mates are yelling about how cool it would be. Result? Inevitable fatal crash. Completely and utterly inevitable. There really was never going to be any other outcome, except possibly not killing all of them, and not at that particular time.

Kids are dumb - I was every bit as dumb when I was a kid, but my car was a 1.1litre Golf. It had 70bhp, not 500. And I nearly killed myself in that more than once. The power of a car like that is utterly intoxicating and almost impossible to resist if it doesn't scare you. My Father just sold the M5 of the generation before (100 less BHP and it scared him) and he, a 60 year old man, found it almost impossible to slow down in it because of how wonderful it was to drive. What chance would a kid of 18 have? None, and I would be bloody shocked to find an 18 year old that'd be able to resist flooring the thing whenever possible. Sadly, the scare he needed to properly respect the car and the speed it could do came within 10-15 seconds of the end of his life.

I fully agree that the extra weight would make (even to that beast of a car) a significant difference to its ability to accelerate and decelerate, and this is a definite possibility for the loss of judgment of braking point - maybe he got distracted (as someone said) hunting for the same Vmax he knew he got on his own). Also, Runways (especially from a car) are really pretty damn featureless and surprisingly short at +140mph. I've driven at stupid, stupid speeds on the road and it felt pretty damn scary. I've been in a (comparable powered road-) car doing 170mph+ on a 2 mile runway and it was pretty uneventful apart from the wind noise and really didn't feel all that fast.....

..right up to the point when the (professional racing driver) hit the brakes.

Then BOTH of us thought it wasn't going to stop. This was a brand new $300,000+ super car, in perfect order and controlled conditions, and it was damn scary. In the daytime. We did about 20 laps, and it still didn't feel any more like it was going to stop on the last run than it did on the first. It was also incredibly hard to pinpoint a braking point. Doing the same thing in the dark, with a load of rowdy mates in the car while still trying to get magic number you got on your own sounds like an impossible task to me. All the people egging him on to go faster would have just seen masses of runway in the headlights, I'd wager. None of them had a clue how little space they had. Headlights don't shine further up the road the faster you go...
posted by Brockles at 5:07 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Blatant jokey self-link
posted by MegoSteve at 5:09 PM on January 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Told u I was haaaAAARDDCOOO-
posted by fire&wings at 5:16 PM on January 29, 2008


Seriously, do you realize how much a pilot's license costs? Probably 80% of the population wouldn't ever be able to afford one, and most of the rest would have to save up for it for years or take out massive loans.

Not at all true. Not even close. Maybe you are thinking of a commercial pilots license (which usually costs about as much as a house), but a standard light aircraft pilots license can be had for as low as $3400 up to circa $7500. Which is about as much as the first couple of years servicing and tyres on an M5...
posted by Brockles at 5:21 PM on January 29, 2008


No one noticed that the kid expressed an interest in racing down runways the day before?
posted by omarr at 5:22 PM on January 29, 2008


phliar writes "I think that getting a driver's license should involve as much training as getting a pilot's license."

A minimum of 40 hours of supervised driving and a medical certificate before getting licensed?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:23 PM on January 29, 2008


Headlights don't shine further up the road the faster you go...

Actually, it would be brilliant if they did. (also, make the cop's job easier: "we are getting 4x lumens on this guy, bob, he's speeding").

This last Dec. I had a chance to drive a new v8 mustang as a rental, and I'm 25, and I still got a little giddy stupid in a freaking mustang. I don't even want to know how I would react in a 500hp M5.

I think a lot of us have a story that is just as stupid or close to what the above young adults did, so it is more than just "wow they are stupid privileged kids (and I mean kids as in not yet self responsible adults, while they may legally be, i bet they didn't know how to cook or do their own laundry)" it is also a "I can remember being that stupid and almost dieing" moment for some of us also.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:24 PM on January 29, 2008


I sometimes wonder if I was the only cautious & overly-sensible teenager on the face of the Earth.
posted by aramaic at 5:25 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


MegoSteve, nice try buddy, but Pluto isn't even a planet anymore.

Of course, if this guy had come to AskMe, anyone with concerns about his safety based on his age and perceived immaturity would have been told to take it to MetaTalk and stick to answering the question.


If he had come to Ask Metafilter, he would have been showing some forethought and someone could have told him how to go fast in a car without winning a Darwin award.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:26 PM on January 29, 2008


rockles: Not at all true. Not even close. Maybe you are thinking of a commercial pilots license (which usually costs about as much as a house), but a standard light aircraft pilots license can be had for as low as $3400 up to circa $7500. Which is about as much as the first couple of years servicing and tyres on an M5...

Yes, that's what I was thinking of. Still, $7500 is a ridiculous sum for a 16 year old that would be essentially impossible to save up without a decent job, which without driving, they wouldn't be able to get. Add a car to that and the expectation that they go to college, and you see where this is going.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:32 PM on January 29, 2008


Hey man I have one of these cars. They are very fast (they can do over 200MPH without any problem on the autobahn)\, but they also have very good brakes (14.7 inches in the front and a little smaller in the rear). Better stopping distance than any AMG or really any car its weight (4000 lbs). I guess with 5 kids in the car that's about 700-800 lbs extra for brakes to handle.

I would also like to say anyone who thinks these kids don't deserve sympathy is devoid of emotion or a hypocrite or both. I can't remember any year of my life up until 25ish when I did not do really stupid stuff that could have killed me but that's part of the human existence and life would be extremely not worth living if it weren't for those experiences.
posted by trol at 5:34 PM on January 29, 2008


My son will be getting a 12 year old Volvo with deliberately dirty valves and quite possibly square wheels.
posted by jamaro at 8:00 PM on January 29


Huh. My first car was a 10 yr old volvo 740. My first speeding ticket was in that car - 114 mph in a 55 mph zone. Boys and their toys, etc. I routinely took that car over 90.

7 years later my Volvo was totalled. A cement truck made an illegal left into the two oncoming lanes of traffic, cut in front of a city bus in the left lane next to me, and smashed right into me. I was doing less than 5 mph.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:35 PM on January 29, 2008


What a shame. That was such a nice car.
posted by mek at 5:36 PM on January 29, 2008


Damn, that's funny

it's many things, but funny isn't one of them
posted by mattoxic at 5:36 PM on January 29, 2008


Page 2:
M5froth I completley understand where you are coming from assuming that I am irresponsible..that is definetly understandable. I do sometimes make bad decisions but I am young and I do drive safe and I will not endanger the lives of others..and I hope you are not under the impression that I am the one to brag, I have never been that way and never will.

Whoever said epidemiology is boring? It's live and in technicolor with this story. Perfect example of why accidents are the most common cause of death for Americans under the age of 45. The most dangerous thing that you can do in your life is get behind the wheel of a car and venture out onto the roads of America.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:37 PM on January 29, 2008


Mitrovarr: Still, $7500 is a ridiculous sum for a 16 year old that would be essentially impossible to save up without a decent job, which without driving, they wouldn't be able to get. Add a car to that and the expectation that they go to college, and you see where this is going."

It's not that ridiculous when you consider the insurance premiums that an 18-year old male driver has to pay, and which would probably be much decreased with a more stringent training regime (resulting in fewer accidents). I suspect you'd pay off the additional training cost in a few years at most. Add in the social cost of accidents and it'd probably be an even better deal (and I thinnk you'd have a legitimate argument for subsidization on that basis).
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:38 PM on January 29, 2008


Or the private airstrips.
posted by dersins at 5:38 PM on January 29, 2008


pyrex writes "However, it also included a rollover simulator which was interesting to experience. We didn't get tumbled around like in the video, but being upside down with a seatbelt on.. eesh."

Hey, that was me in real life about a month ago. I flipped my 4Runner trying to pass on icy roads. Started to turn around, drifted over to the ditch, rolled right over and ended up on the roof. I had my seatbelt on, so I was sort of suspended by it. Getting out was interesting, but it took no time at all. No injuries, and I was the only one in the car, but it was pretty scary at the time. The flipped car wasn't so bad, it was more doing a 360 on a 2-lane, busy highway with wet ice, somehow managing not to hit anyone. No broken windows, and the damage wasn't so bad. It was the second time I've ever been in a flipped car, but the last time I was a passenger, and it was about 20 years ago.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:40 PM on January 29, 2008


I wonder how the guys on the BMW board feel, having advised this 18 year old kid the day before. And then knowing the day after 5 kids were killed. Got to be rough.

An overview of the runway shows how tempting it looks to drive fast. According to one of the posters on that board "car accidents is the number one killer for the 18-25 yr old bracket".

I was impressed, when the shell of the car debris was being removed, how it seemed light as cardboard. Are most modern cars bodies (not the underneath or the motor but the main upper part) that lightweight these days? Are they made of metal or fiberglass? Man, for a $75,000 car that looked like it was made of tissue paper.

Interesting statistics:
• Male drivers 16-23 are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal vehicle accident than the average driver, due to inexperience and lack of maturity.
• The reasons for elevated risks of male drivers include speeding, and a higher likelihood of drinking and driving.
• Male drivers are 77% more likely to die in a car accident than women.
• Elderly women are 60% more likely to suffer a fatal accident than a 16-year-old boy
• Elderly women are 5 times more likely to die on the road even as a passengers, and are subject to the highest road related death risks in the U.S.

Deadliest days to Drive

Based on 25 years of research statistics compiled by NHTSA:
• July 4
• July 3
• Dec. 23
• Dec. 24
• Dec. 22
• Aug. 3
• Jan. 1
• Sept. 1
• Sept. 2
• Aug. 4


.
.
.
.
.
posted by nickyskye at 5:42 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Some of the responses here are pretty disgusting. The kid was at least using a closed runway and not playing on the highway, which is at least foresight. I think he actually took his time to research the car, the speeds he could obtain and how to do it safely, which is commendable. The problem is that there isn't too many people out there who've had the experience of running an M5 on a runway filled with extra weight. Not too many FAQ out there detailing that an extra 500 pounds will significantly alter the dynamics at high speeds. M5s are amazing pieces of machinery and I can see how the slick engineering can fool you into thinking that you are not driving a supercar that needs special consideration. In fact they design it to be that way, but most of the clientele probably don't take it to such extremes.

That said this is actually relatively common. Exotics have a higher rate of accidents, far more than the average car. Sure a lot of that has to do with people not racing minivans, but a lot of also has to do with the fact that (1) proper training is not considered, (2) the cars abilities are overestimated. Solving the first will probably solve the second, but even a relatively well informed driver (how many people go seek out message boards on the model of their car after they get it?) can be fooled in underestimating the power of these machines.

These cars are really beautiful, as shown here.
posted by geoff. at 5:43 PM on January 29, 2008


Kadin2048 writes "It's not that ridiculous when you consider the insurance premiums that an 18-year old male driver has to pay ..."

Yeah, but AFAIK getting a license in most of Europe is much harder than it is in the US, and they don't require $7500. Why is the cost even necessary to learn to drive? It makes sense for a pilot's license due to the inherent costs of flying a plane to teach students, but it doesn't really make sense for a drivers license.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:44 PM on January 29, 2008


I am in the beginning planning stage w/ another member to investigate what airstrips are available in So. FL. to do 30 to 150 mph run offs just like Gustav did on the airfield.
This will be a great opportunity to run our cars w/o getting in trouble.

I need to get a feel of who would be interested to make this happen. It would be open to other sports cars to get more people to compete.

There is an 11,000 ft. runway in consideration. That's more than enough to go 190 or 200 mph and slow down.

posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 PM on January 29, 2008


I have to throw my hat in with the "did a lot of stupid stuff in cars at that age" crowd. Airborne minivans, upside down Suzuki samurais, what else can we run into with this '72 Oldsomibile 88 without actually damaging the car? Those dumpsters, picnic tables, and the base of that statue seem to be no match for AmericanSteel. Luckily I was more of a donuts and smoke show idiot, than a speed idiot. I had an "oops I crapped my pants" experience at 19 on a 1000cc sportbike that has kept me off of anything more powerful than a rental scooter since.

A lot of cars these days are much too fast,not just top of of the line "rich kid" cars. My friend has a Mazda 3 that makes me nervous. My mother's nissan Altima is too fast for it's own good if you ask me. It's not airborne for 200 feet fast, but I can see a parent letting their kid behind the wheel thinking it's a safe alternative to something sportier.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2008


hazel - beautiful. Truly.

“If you, as a parent, can't tell that giving up a 400+ HP car to your 18 year old MALE offspring isn't a good idea... “

Yeah, I heard some kid stole his dad’s vintage 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California and let his buddy drive it all over Chicago. Then kicked the hell out of it and slammed it through a plate glass window into a big ditch behind their house.


When I was a kid I blew my engine in the middle of nowhere, not doing anything special, just driving at highway speed on my way somewhere. I called my mom, found a mechanic and got the deal underway on my little POS. Well, he tells me the engine is gone. So I’m thinking about what it’s going to take me to get a new car and the guy says he can shove in a Olds 403 (rocket series) small block no one wants because it’s an old engine, kind of expensive because it’s been customed out and “it might be a little too powerful for your car.”

Of course the next words out of my mouth were “that will be just fine.”

The work alone cost me more than the car but I was working all that summer so I had the funds. My family fronted me some bucks but paying them back was easy. And all they knew is I needed a car to get to work (to pay them back). And most moms don’t know all that much about cars.
(For you gearheads the 403’s bore-stroke ratio was huge and was rated at 185 hp with 320 foot lbs of torque - stock. This was modded with new heads (compression was way boosted) cams and a new (Edelbrock) intake, performance lifters, etc. etc. so I had 350 horse easy and I’d have to oh so gently and gradually step on the gas or peel out all the time)

So this is essentially a large racing engine in a small beater hatchback (although it did have a sunroof - leaky, but a sunroof nonetheless).
And the thing would overheat all the damn time (which is why, I suspect, I got it - relatively - cheap, the other work really cost me).

But when I’d step on the gas it was like that scene in Star Wars the first time they go to hyperspace.
And there was no top end, the thing could just go and go and go. The damn thing had lousy tires, terrible breaks, crummy steering and took off like a bolt of lightning, it was the Millenium Falcon and I loved that car.

Well, I mean of course I crashed it.

What sucked was, despite the absolutely thrilling speed (I’d outrun almost anything stock on the road), the way I crashed. I survived obviously. But I didn’t roll it in a drag race or anything cool.

No, the Falcon died because I swerved to miss a cat. I wasn’t even speeding. It was night, I had bald tires (and assorted other problems) and there’s a twisty road on my way home, so I’m going thru the curves and this cat runs out in front of me and I swerve to miss it.

So, scared little bastard that it was, it dives the other way. So I swerve the other way and my tire glances off the curb and I start to spin. So I try to countersteer and the wheel just spins in my hand. Nada. So I start pumping the breaks and I feel them just go to mush under me. So I spin around and I’m going backwards now and I pull the emergency brake and it comes off in my hand.

I’m thinking “Well, now what?” and I slam into a tree going backwards. The seat breaks, I slide out from under my seatbelt and I’m catapulted through the sunroof (which shatters) and I slide back down into my seat.
I get out. I’m fine. Not a mark on me.

So I head home. Get my mom’s car and head back planning to tow my car home (since I know I’m going to be short on cash now).
Unfortunately a cop is there at the scene. And he’s writing something next to my car which is ass-backwards planted into a tree.

So he says “I feared a body. You’re lucky.” And I agree. And he says “You’re lucky you came back too. Fleeing the scene is a serious offense.”
So, yeah, I’m a teenager, I said “What do you mean? The tree rear ended me.”
He got a kick out of that and he cuts me loose.
I tow the car home. It sits in my driveway for months while I look for a buyer for this hot rod engine and eventually I have to junk it because no one wants the damn thing.

The point being: we all do stupid things, some of us in spite of our parents, some of us because of them. And we all, eventually, pay for our mistakes one way or another.

I don’t know that I’d comment on their parenting skills without knowing them. I sure wouldn’t give my kids a high performance vehicle, but by the same token, maybe my kids will have some new way of doing dangerous stuff I know nothing about much like my mom didn’t know much about cars.

But again, even if you’re not doing something dangerous - circumstances can screw with you - throw a cat in front of you (Mr. Compassion) and F’up your program. He could have done that on the runway then be driving home, lose a tire and die in a completely different way. It’s better to play the odds and not do it. And it’s better to try to hold your kids back from doing it, but that doesn’t always work out and you don’t want to lock your kid in a closet until they leave for college and never learn their limits and get into real trouble.

The only thing really needs to be said about the parents is their children are dead. Not a damn thing we say or don’t say is going to change or affect that whether they were irresponsible or had a blind spot here or they were really conscientious and thoughtful.

And hell, I’ve said a stupid thing or two on the internet myself.
Everyone involved, far as I’m concerned, is fully paid up. Just a shame the lesson had to be so harsh and so final.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [26 favorites]


Kadin2048: It's not that ridiculous when you consider the insurance premiums that an 18-year old male driver has to pay, and which would probably be much decreased with a more stringent training regime (resulting in fewer accidents). I suspect you'd pay off the additional training cost in a few years at most. Add in the social cost of accidents and it'd probably be an even better deal (and I thinnk you'd have a legitimate argument for subsidization on that basis).

Insurance wasn't that bad, at least for me. Having a good record and good grades helped a lot.

I'm all for more training, just not a pilot's worth of training. In the end it wouldn't cost as much anyways, I suppose, since after more research I found that renting planes is a lot of the cost of learning to fly. The Swedish system above sounded pretty good.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:50 PM on January 29, 2008


In high school, I had a friend who's parents were in the middle of a messy divorce. Dad bought my friend a porche 911, his mom bought him a VW golf. This being the 80's, there was zero chance his dad was getting custody, and of course mom wouldn't let him keep the 911 at her house, so he only got to drive it when he'd visit his dad twice a year. I didn't keep exact records, but it sure seemed like 9/10 times he drove the porche, he got arrested for driving like an idiot. He never got pulled over in the golf.

I never got to ride in the 911 with him, but I know how he drove the golf.

There's something to be said for giving your child a vehicle they can't get 0-60 in .5 seconds.


A 1980s Golf will do 140mph on the freeway no problem, trust me.
posted by fshgrl at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2008


You're all going to feel like suckers when it turns out Al Qaeda was responsible.
posted by pokermonk at 5:59 PM on January 29, 2008


A 1980s Golf will do 140mph on the freeway no problem, trust me.

Oh no it won't. Not even close. Not a stock one, certainly. Even the G60 couldn't top 127. You don't actually believe what Speedometers say, do you?
posted by Brockles at 6:04 PM on January 29, 2008



He had the foresight to want to learn about gear ratios, etc. and he wasn't on a public road.

That's why I say racing school probably would have saved his life. He would have learned respect for 500 bhp, for starters.


A 1980s Golf will do 140mph on the freeway no problem, trust me.
You can't scrub off speed in a 1980's Golf doing 140 like you can in an M5 (or a 911). It's a whole different ballgame. It is much much more dangerous to drive a Golf at that speed.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 6:09 PM on January 29, 2008


I sometimes wonder if I was the only cautious & overly-sensible teenager on the face of the Earth.

Me too. Drove a Volvo and a Honda, never took it more than 10 miles over. Where would I have to get to so damn fast? I was 18, very few responsibilities, might as well put on some music and go the speed limit. Of course, the first time I took the car out, the girl I was on a date with got hit by a car driven by some other teenagers and went into a coma- maybe that's why I was so careful.
posted by 235w103 at 6:09 PM on January 29, 2008


Mitrovarr, yes, I know how much a pilot's license costs; I'm an instrument-rated pilot. Driving should require a hell of a lot more commitment than it takes. It should not be considered a right.

krinklyfig: it's not just the dual instruction that's missing, or just the ground school; it's the attitude. Every instructor I've ever flown with has always had a similar attitude: this is serious business and will kill you, so it's not enought to just pass tests, it's important to really learn. Emergency procedures -- not airplane handing -- are the bulk of the training. And there's never a guarantee that you will get a license for just showing up; the first-time fail rate on the final test is significant. Examiners will often ask you to do stupid things and expect you to refuse -- good judgement is one of the passing criteria.

If this kid had been taught the right attitude, before the run he'd know his stopping distance for his target speed and put a marker on the runway. When that marker comes by, you start braking no matter what. These kinds of calculations -- start-stop distances, min. turning radiuses, dependence of various numbers on weight and speed -- are routine for pilots.

(Of course young men will be doing stupid things and killing themselves no matter what, but we don't have to make it easy.)
posted by phliar at 6:10 PM on January 29, 2008


A 1980s Golf will do 140mph on the freeway no problem, trust me.

Its not a question of how fast they go, its how long it takes for them to get there.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:11 PM on January 29, 2008


I had a Golf.

It was totalled standing still. My husband was in it. A drunk driver hit him head on.

(yeah, he survived just fine, but he wouldn't even let me see my car afterwards.)

Of course I know you can die in a Golf as well as a high performance car. But you don't give your teen son the latter because it just makes bad things that much more likely.
posted by konolia at 6:13 PM on January 29, 2008


It's really, really hard for me to feel sorry for any of these people.

It seems to have occurred to no one that driving a car on a runway is intrinsically dangerous and irresponsible. I'm really so glad that only this criminal and his criminal friends were killed.

The fact that they were rich kids rich adds to my disgust. The rich should take greater responsibility than the poor because they have such greater privileges.

They could have killed an innocent. Instead, they killed themselves and they won't reproduce. I hope this is a lesson for their community that selfishness, short-sightedness and irresponsibility can be punished with death.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:13 PM on January 29, 2008


phliar: Driving should require a hell of a lot more commitment than it takes. It should not be considered a right.

I'm not really disagreeing, but it's important to consider this - for a lot of the country, you have two options: Driver and Homeless. Yes, you can make do without a car in urban areas, but you are absolutely hosed in a rural one, and in a suburban area, you will be pretty poorly off. It would be almost impossible to escape poverty without a vehicle in such areas, since you'd be limited to working in the range of where you can walk from your house.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:16 PM on January 29, 2008


Not to be a jerk, or anything, but I will go ahead and be one anyhow. It looks like his last post happened after he was dead, and the first post was on the 25th of January. How do you know this is him on the m5 board? Is the clock just off? Was he posting from the party he was at?
posted by katinka-katinka at 6:17 PM on January 29, 2008


Focusing on the car is foolish. I've driven 100s of thousands of kilometres in everything from a 36hp beetle thru a 1 ton dually up to a 650+hp Camaro. You can do stupidly dangerous stuff in anything. At least enough to die.

The news article link died quite a while ago but my favourite WTF! involving car accidents can be summed up like this:
3 kids killed in car crash. Going 110MPH. At night. In a unlit, rainslick, 45mph construction zone. Without seat belts. With a donut spare on the car. They flew off the road into a poll. Can you guess what they were driving? Toyota Camry.

nomisxid writes "I didn't keep exact records, but it sure seemed like 9/10 times he drove the porche, he got arrested for driving like an idiot. He never got pulled over in the golf."

This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the capabilities of the car but probably with the looks of the car. One's driving style usually doesn't change much between cars.

For example: For a while in my early twenties I was driving two cars. The first was a 95hp Fiero and the other was 375hp 400+ ft/lbs 66 Chrysler 2DRHT. Despite splitting the kilometres fairly evenly I never once got pulled over in the car that looked like a blue hair owned it. Not once. A conversation with a cop (always a warning, I never received a violation ticket) was often a weekly occurence. Pure harassment just because the car looked fast.

konolia writes "Perusing the article, they were out at three am.

"Obviously parents did not know where they were. "


What's obvious about this? At 18 I lived on my own and saw my parents maybe 2-3 times a week. But it wasn't unusual for me to meet my father for a coffee after midnight. Not everyone leads an early to bed, early to rise 9-5 work day existence.
posted by Mitheral at 6:19 PM on January 29, 2008


There is a weird thing going on with cars these days. Have you looked at the specs of almost any "bread and butter" car?

Example:

Honda Accord, 3 engines, horsepower: 177 @ 6500 - 190 @ 7000 - 268 @ 6000

My daily car is a 4-door sedan with 120 horsepower, and it's perfectly adequate, even fun to drive. My vintage 60's Jaguar sports car has 40 horsepower less than the V6 accord and was the fastest production car in the world when it was introduced.

And it's not just Hondas or any other make. Everything is way more powerful than it needs to be. I think of my wife in her Subaru. I would guess that she doesn't press the accelerator more than 1/4 way down, ever. She would be perfectly happy, in fact, ecstatic, with the same car that had half the horsepower but 1/3 again the gas mileage.

It's just odd that at a time when gas is hugely expensive and we're all supposed to be "green" that cars are as powerful as they ever have been. I'm not even sure you could bring to market a 90-hp car like the Corolla like I had in high school, which I had a blast in.
posted by maxwelton at 6:19 PM on January 29, 2008


It seems to have occurred to no one that driving a car on a runway is intrinsically dangerous and irresponsible.

Care to give just one reason for that? It is one of the most responsible places you possibly could drive at that speed. It wasn't the place that was dangerous, it was the experience/car ability/judgment balance.
posted by Brockles at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2008


I think everyone in this thread should go out and test drive an M5, if possible. There will be a pretty simple gate: some people are going to think that it's going to be like sex and cocaine and heaven all rolled into one. The rest of the people are going to think the exact same thing, except they will know enough to treat the M5 with the respect it deserves.

The very problem with with cars like the M5 (RS6, Bentley, etc) is that they are so well-engineered, designed and executed that they just don't feel dangerous... If you're in an Ariel Atom, an Elise, a GT3, and that sort, the systems are intentionally designed to give a completely different experience - one that intentionally emphasizes the speed and connection to the car part of the experience. These cars are less easy to underestimate, because they scream at you in varying degrees, "I'm a race car!"

So, at the end of the day, you have a deceptive supercar, the euphoria that comes with driving said supercar, and an 18 year old.

I just wonder how that got through the parent filter. Perhaps parents were suckered in by the M5 as well? I can easily see that. I see people every day driving cars they clearly aren't matched well with. Do you really need to drive your 500 HP to work every day, Johnny Q. Public with no damn training?

But the bar, as has been mentioned in this thread, keeps going up horsepower wise... You can buy an Evo or an STI right now that will get you easily up in the 300 hp range, and you can do it cheaply. Personally, I think the horsepower arms race has gotten out of hand.
posted by Cathedral at 6:31 PM on January 29, 2008


Care to give just one reason for that?

Planes land on them. Planes that are probably not expecting cars.
posted by aramaic at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Light Fantastic writes "It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for incredibly privileged youth."

Neither will I , but I will cry one for them as ordinary idiots.


OH HELL NO I DIDN'T SAY THAT!!!! I thought it was an asinine thing to say, actually. If you read closely, you might notice that I quoted another poster (to lazy to bother looking it up) and responded with a (possibly not sufficiently sarcastic) "nice." Please put me down on the "tragedy" side of the aisle. Thanks.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2008


You people are missing the obvious. John Travolta and the Scientologist have once again sent a message.

Dont fuck with our people!!!!

Those kids probably did something to John's lawn. Revenge was swift.
posted by phoffmann at 6:42 PM on January 29, 2008


that they are so well-engineered, designed and executed that they just don't feel dangerous

That's why I loves me some Detroit muscle. You know you're risking death every time you step on the gas, and even more when you try to make a turn at any speed. The adrenaline rush of going 70 in a Charger that should not even have a steering column since it isn't designed to go in anything but a straight line beats he rush of going 100 in a Beemer. Any day.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:42 PM on January 29, 2008


How the hell can you get an 80 foot embankment in a location where the terrain does not vary more than 30 feet? (that's exact coordinates of this airfield; those are five-foot contours)

I hate exxageration, especially when used by the mass media to pump up a story.
posted by crapmatic at 6:45 PM on January 29, 2008


aramaic writes "Planes land on them. Planes that are probably not expecting cars."

The airport might be closed during the night.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 PM on January 29, 2008


aramaic: I sometimes wonder if I was the only cautious & overly-sensible teenager on the face of the Earth.

I wish I had been more cautious than I was, but I don't think I'm much of a match for a lot of folks in this thread. Airborne vehicles? 140mph? Any speed over 100mph seems insane to me. I've never topped 135km/h and even that was too fast. The scariest driving moment of my teenage years was a 180 on slippery snow at about 55km/h. If I'd had my head on straight I wouldn't have been out on the road in those conditions.

Now 300km/h trains, that is something I can get behind. Maybe if we could get some high speed train service going in North America and then make a special seat for the speed obsessed in the front where you get to watch the scenery fly at you, we'd be able to give them what they crave.
posted by ssg at 6:50 PM on January 29, 2008


Not to start any gender-based flamewars, but as I get older, I'm seeing more truth than comedy in Tim Allen's "more power!" schtick. Everyone, male and female, takes risks in cars when they're young, it seems. But when it comes to taking silly chances in cars and the players are over 30, they're almost always male. My 50-something former boss is a muscle car aficianado, and when he bought some type of tricked-out Mustang, he couldn't resist gunning it up to over 100 mph on a stretch of I-75 in the metro Detroit area. (Yes, he got a ticket, and thank goodness it was before he hit anyone.) The night before the I-696 officially opened for traffic my 30-year-old brother got up in the freakin' middle of the night to race his Laser on that stretch of "brand new, smooth pavement." And when he got there, there were a couple of dozen other drivers already there with the same idea. My husband has been lovingly restoring a Datsun 280-Z (his dream car), and he's now always on the lookout for a nice long stretch of rural road where he can "really take her out and open her up." More power, grunt, grunt....
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:52 PM on January 29, 2008


The airport might be closed during the night.

It's an unattended private strip. No airport, no control.
posted by aramaic at 6:54 PM on January 29, 2008


Me and three friends in my mom's '95 Eagle Talon, doing about 110 down rural roads around 4:00am, thinking that the intersection I was approaching was a cross intersection, when actually it was a T intersection.

Yup. I did the same thing, except the car was a 1984 300ZX Turbo, and I was going about 70, not 110. I said "shit" too, hit the brakes and wound up stopping about with about an inch of pavement left. The front end of the car was over the ditch.

I got away unscathed and the car was unscathed too, but I was just lucky that it was about 3AM and there wasn't anyone coming the other way.

And also that there weren't any cops around - sheriff's deputies in rural counties in Virginia have a seriously low tolerance for male teenage dumbasses with high power sports cars. I probably would have spent a week or two in the county lockup for that little stunt and I would have deserved it.
posted by smoothvirus at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2008


Now 300km/h trains, that is something I can get behind. Maybe if we could get some high speed train service going in North America and then make a special seat for the speed obsessed in the front where you get to watch the scenery fly at you, we'd be able to give them what they crave.

Like this?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:59 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm curious as to how anyone could actually be against a federal law forcing speed limiters on cars. If the limit is 75 nationally then 80 or 85 should not be possible if you want the car to be sold in the US. Granted, this wont stop kids racing shorter tracks, but I dont understand why a run-of-the-mill automobile in the US can do 120 easy. when I was a teenager I had access to a large but powerful BMW I used to hit 110-120 on the expressway with for short stretches. In hindsight this was incredibly stupid. Why was I even able to get a car up to that speed? What good could that do anyone? Imagine the lives saved or at the very least the number of wheelchairs saved.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:00 PM on January 29, 2008


It's an unattended private strip. No airport, no control.

With radio controlled landing lights that will be put on several minutes before a plane lands on it. I'd say you'd have plenty of warning to slow down and get off. No pilot landing at his home strip at night is going to flash the lights on at the last minute. Planes simply don't 'suddenly drop onto the runway'. It'd even have time to see the moving headlights and go around, I'd wager. It'd be most likely going slower than the car was, too.

So, far more warning than you'll ever get of any traffic on the road. Plus far better quality tarmac than you'll see on a public highway. Plus straight as an arrow and no obstructions. Pretty damn safe if you have any sort of control over the car and awareness of how well it can stop, which was clearly the issue here.
posted by Brockles at 7:00 PM on January 29, 2008


aramaic writes "It's an unattended private strip. No airport, no control."

Private airstrip doesn't mean it's a wild west free for all, there are still regulations. John Travolta had to take someone to court to allow him to land his 707.
posted by Mitheral at 7:08 PM on January 29, 2008


About 115 people die in car crashes every day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Most of those people aren't driving an $80,000 sports car at ridiculous speeds on a private airstrip, so they don't get noticed.

Oh well! Murder on, car culture!
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:11 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


John Travolta: Get off my lawn!
posted by xorry at 7:12 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm curious as to how anyone could actually be against a federal law forcing speed limiters on cars.

Easy. Suppose the speed limit is 55, and the "hard limit" is 65. Now suppose you are in the middle lane, and there are cars to the left, right, and behind you. No cars in front. The car to the left of you attempts to merge into your lane.

You can either accelerate as fast as possible to get out of the way, or get hit, likely taking the car behind you out, as well as the car merging into you, and possibly the car to the right.


In Seattle, I may have been in a situation like that once or twice. When I lived in New Jersey or Southern California, that sort of thing happened at least weekly.


There is definitely utility in having more power than you need, but M5 levels of power are just going to lead to M5 levels of stupid.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:13 PM on January 29, 2008


Whoa, this was more popular than I expected it to be. I was really curious to see what the reaction would be, and I'm sort of glad to see a fair number of people sympathizing with the young, stupid recklessness at play.

"Everybody always kids say the dardnest things, but so would you if you had no education." - Eugene Mirman

Life's a trial and error kind of game, and it's sad to see people get bitten so hard. You can say "They should have known better" but that's the thing – they didn't. They were young and stupid and thought they were invincible.

I too, did extremely stupid things during my (not-so-far-behind-me) teenage years, and I was lucky enough to live to tell about it. Most people I know did, in fact. It's called living, you learn from it. Yeah yeah, some of us are smarter than others and don't need to have near death experiences to learn not to do x, but some of us are just aren't. The fact remains is that kids do stupid dangerous shit all the time, with or without lots of money.

The thing I'm taking away from this:
If it sounds like someone in your online community of choice is about to do (or in general danger of doing) something really stupid or reckless, it's worth the moment to try to inform them of that. It might not be any help – as was in this case – but internet people are real people too and are worth the effort. You could be the one who could have made him/her/them "known better".
posted by patr1ck at 7:17 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


crapmatic writes "How the hell can you get an 80 foot embankment in a location where the terrain does not vary more than 30 feet? (that's exact coordinates of this airfield; those are five-foot contours)

"I hate exxageration, especially when used by the mass media to pump up a story."


Looking at the aerial picture and using the airstrip being 210 ft wide it looks like the embankment at the end of the strip could be 300 wide and 80 feet deep.

patr1ck writes "If it sounds like someone in your online community of choice is about to do (or in general danger of doing) something really stupid or reckless, it's worth the moment to try to inform them of that."

But how would we ever find out for sure what happens when you chew on a laptop power cord?
posted by Mitheral at 7:20 PM on January 29, 2008


I think everyone in this thread should go out and test drive an M5, if possible. There will be a pretty simple gate: some people are going to think that it's going to be like sex and cocaine and heaven all rolled into one.

Can I do you a deal & take the sex & cocaine in the car, but skip the heaven part?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:31 PM on January 29, 2008


drstein:

WRT guns, I don't see why you'd factor out 'gang bangers and drug related killings'. Seems a little arbitrary to me. We have drug dealers and gangs here, but it's much harder for them to get guns. The only reason I mentioned guns (and cellphones) is that the population in Aus is more ready to have (excessive) freedoms curtailed in the interest of public safety, so that may explain why the US wouldn't have things like power limits and anti-hoon laws.

You seem to be in rough agreement with the P-plate laws we have here. We also have lower BAC limits (except WA), and a nil BAC requirement for P-plate drivers.
posted by pompomtom at 7:36 PM on January 29, 2008


Everything is way more powerful than it needs to be.
I'm not going to argue that, but the reason engine power is going way up is because cars are getting massively heavier and larger to meet both safety standards and customer demands for tricks and toys.

That 60s Jaguar would get laughed out of NCAP tests.

As for chod-boy chod and his speedo obsession: what a douchecandle. It's a pity he didn't get to learn that speeding in a comfortable saloon is actually a bit dull. 65mph in a low-slung roadster is twice as thrilling and passenger-scaring than 120mph in a family box.
posted by bonaldi at 7:43 PM on January 29, 2008


If the limit is 75 nationally then 80 or 85 should not be possible if you want the car to be sold in the US.
You make a car that tops out at 75mph, and it's going to be a poorly-accelerating dog, because it won't have the power to do the crucial 50-70mph acceleration that you need for safe overtaking &co, not to mention rotten away-from-the-lights performance. Unless you take a larger engine and put an artificial cap on it. And no limiter is going to stop a teenage boy with a computer and a cable.
posted by bonaldi at 7:49 PM on January 29, 2008


To all the self-styled thread police out there that say this topic doesn't belong, we have ~150+ comments that say it does.

If you don't like a topic/thread/discussion - just go away. Did you pay ALL our fees to post here? No? Shut up then.

No way in hell would I allow any 18 year old (not named Lewis Hamilton) to get behind the wheel of an M5, especially if it was MY M5. It's a lot more car than a typical 18 year-old's testosterone-laced mind can handle. Sadly, we'll see more of this sort of thing with the availability of sub $30K vehicles that produce 300+ horsepower off the lot and can be modified to make 500 or 600 by your roid-raged, backward baseball cap wearing high school yahoo.
posted by stonesy at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2008


That kid was stupid, and everyone in the car with him was stupid. His parents gave him plenty of money to throw around, and that's stupid too.

Am I glad that this kid died? Am I giggling because he paid the ultimate price for his stupidity? Of course I'm not.

Now that I'm comfortably in my thirties, I'm not stupid anymore, but I've got thousands of stories to tell from back when I was. Most of my friends, lawyers, poets, professors and pundits, have their own stories. Jesus God, but we were stupid once. Sometimes we're still stupid.

I'd rather have died in a fiery crash at 19 than to never have done a stupid thing in my life. Leave lives untouched by mad fits of giggles, wild drunken nights, all-night conversations in diners, ill-fated romances, epic pranks and forays into psychedelic drugs to the actuaries, American Idol fans and the HR staff at WalMart.

Rest in peace, dumbass. I'm sorry you drew the wrong card.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 7:56 PM on January 29, 2008


Smedleyman, that's the first time I've seen you tell a long personal story like that, and it's also the first time I've seen you use anything like standard diction and sentence/paragraph structure. Both good!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:11 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy :
It seems to have occurred to no one that driving a car on a runway is intrinsically dangerous and irresponsible. I'm really so glad that only this criminal and his criminal friends were killed.

What makes this kid a "criminal"? Moreover, why are his friends criminals? Cause they were in their friend's dad's reallyholyshitmouthfast car?

Yeah, the kid way underestimated what he was dealing with. Yes, he was going at speeds that are illegal anywhere in the U.S. outside of a racetrack. That's not really criminal behavior - irresponsible, unsafe, and arguably stupid behavior, sure. But he wasn't going that speed after doing a drive-by, or robbing a convenience store, or while waving a gun around. He was just racing on what he assumed was a safe stretch of a privately-owned road/runway. Beyond the speeding, his "crime" was trespassing.

The friends were along for the ride. No doubt, some of them were probably a bit freaked out. But, may have assumed "well, he knows what he's doing" - and he probably said "dude, I did this the other night, it was SO cool" which eased their concerns a bit more. Take it from anyone who's taken a ride in a dangerous-driving friend's car : you have no choice but to grip your seat, hold on, and maybe pray (if you're into that kinda thing).

The chances of ANY of them being able to stop this kid from doing what he did, especially while in the car, are next to nihil. And jumping out of a car going that fast would kill you. Hoping their friend knew what the hell he was doing has much better odds.

The fact that they were rich kids rich adds to my disgust.

As they say in Willy Wonka : "blaming the child is a lie and a shame, cause we all know just who's to blame.... the mother and the father".

The rich should take greater responsibility than the poor because they have such greater privileges.

There was a story posted here on MeFi the other day that those of higher wealth status tend to commit far less crimes than those below the poverty line. Some might argue that their doing so is akin to "taking greater responsibility" - but everyone should take greater responsibility for their actions, regardless of income level. I think it's especially silly, however, to hate the rich for the stupid mistakes everyone makes regardless of their level of income. I'd go so far as to say that despising rich people for surface reasons is just as ridiculous and degrading as rich people devaluing those who are at lower income levels.

They could have killed an innocent. Instead, they killed themselves and they won't reproduce. I hope this is a lesson for their community that selfishness, short-sightedness and irresponsibility can be punished with death.

"They" didn't kill anyone. The kid driving, however, killed 4 innocent people and himself. There's no way that you have the divine knowledge of who those other kids were to the level that you could say they weren't innocent. They were along for a joyride gone terribly awry. It's a tragedy, regardless of who was involved. 5 young people died from a silly mistake that many in this thread have been close to making, but these kids weren't as lucky.

It's really, really hard for me to feel sorry for any of these people.

And it's really, really hard for me to imagine you having an IQ above 85.
posted by revmitcz at 8:14 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Darwin Awards live by this kind of idiocy.

freshwater_pr0n nailed it: thanks to all involved (idiot driver, idiot parents, idiot passengers...; you get the picture)
posted by whozyerdaddy at 8:21 PM on January 29, 2008


This isn't sad at all. That's one more car load of reckless pricks off the road.
I didn't do that fast car bullshit when I was a kid but I did ride motorcycles off-road and legally.
You don't have to be a shithead to have fun and take some risks.
posted by 2sheets at 8:25 PM on January 29, 2008


We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect Us

We are trees.
And we are at war with the Church of the $upercar.
posted by machim at 8:28 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That 60s Jaguar would get laughed out of NCAP tests.

You're saying that there is no way in the world to build a car that doesn't weigh 4,000 lbs and have 200 horsepower now? If so, than that is an epic failure on the part of the manufacturers. And I think European markets would say that it is possible to do so.

The biggest, cheapest safety improvement that could be made would be better driver's training--a lousy driver in a modern car is going to die sooner than an excellent driver in any "death trap" you care to name.

I've taken three motorcycle safety courses not because I can't ride, but because I learn something new each time, even though I've been riding for years. I've taken two track-based safety courses for cars and would take one every six months if I could afford the time because, again, I learn something every time.

Everyone I know who races on a track drives slowly and safely on the road, partially because once you've driven on a closed course you realize how nutso the open road is, but also because you've gotten the "need to speed" out of your veins.
posted by maxwelton at 8:36 PM on January 29, 2008


Hey, you know that stupid thing that guy did that got him killed? He shoonta done that! Now you may do the superior dance with me! Can you feel the sanctimony?

Assuming the passengers all consented to the ride, I do think they deserve a little bit of credit for not doing this on a public road and killing a minivan full of babies and puppies.
posted by IvyMike at 8:37 PM on January 29, 2008


katina-katina: Fair observation re: the timestamp of his last post, but note the flag in the URL on the M5board?

Sweden. Swedish timestamp. 6 hours ahead i think, so it was 10 pm when he posted (he died about 3 am).
posted by gnash at 8:41 PM on January 29, 2008


How the hell can you get an 80 foot embankment in a location where the terrain does not vary more than 30 feet? (that's exact coordinates of this airfield; those are five-foot contours)

The topo map seems incorrect w/ regard to the runway. You would expect a runway to be leveled, yet the topo shows it crossing many contour lines. The photo on the right here shows an embankment around the runway on the accident end, but that embankment is not shown on the map.
posted by smackfu at 8:49 PM on January 29, 2008


You're saying that there is no way in the world to build a car that doesn't weigh 4,000 lbs and have 200 horsepower now?

Maybe not 4000 pounds, but most of the weight in modern cars is due to safety structure and increased comfort levels. The disproportionate increase in BHP is due to marketing - it's what people want. Cars have become heavier necessarily, and power has to match. It'd be very difficult to pass current crash legislation with a much lighter car. Manufacturers are working on weight saving constantly.

American cars, however, are far, far heavier than they need to be in the most case.
posted by Brockles at 8:57 PM on January 29, 2008


small_ruminant: I hope his passengers were just as stoked on the thrill- if not they're victims plain and simple. If they were- well, I'm sorry for the parents, but I hope I go in a manner as fun as they did!

I doubt the last 200 feet were any fun.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:14 PM on January 29, 2008


I don't have a lot of sympathy for rich kids who do stupid things.

Fuck you. That attitude exhibits yet another form of bigotry.

Just because this 18 year-old came from a privileged background does not warrant us writing off his -- and his friend's -- tragic death(s).

Youth is often accompanied by a sense of bravado and invulnerability. Emotion and daring often clouds judgment and logic. Rich and poor alike take risks at that age.

It's a tragedy, nonetheless, when one dies at that age -- whether he/she be from a privileged or an underprivileged background.
posted by ericb at 9:16 PM on January 29, 2008


Worth noting, perhaps, that the notion of the Darwin awards, which are about "removing yourself from the human gene pool" is fatally flawed for the most part.

Pop quiz: when some good old boy does something stupid with a power cable or stick of dynamite and dies, and he leaves a wife and seven children, why should he not receive a Darwin award?

In this case, the driver is very probably eligible.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:16 PM on January 29, 2008


I don’t know that I’d comment on their parenting skills without knowing them. I sure wouldn’t give my kids a high performance vehicle...

Or make one available to "steal for the day." Especially a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder.
posted by ericb at 9:16 PM on January 29, 2008


I do think they deserve a little bit of credit for not doing this on a public road and killing a minivan full of babies and puppies.

and

It seems to have occurred to no one that driving a car on a runway is intrinsically dangerous and irresponsible.

Care to give just one reason for that?


Are you serious?

Because planes LAND on runways. Because sometimes these planes carry dozens or hundreds of people. Because the pilot is not at all expecting to see a car on the runway. Because even if this is a regional runway and you aren't expecting a plane, sometimes planes, even fairly large planes, get diverted to them with little or no notice.

You don't fuck around with your car and train tracks. You don't fuck around with your car and airplane runways. If you do and you die, it's just luck you didn't kill a lot of other people.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:19 PM on January 29, 2008


The parents of the poor dead kid should have known where this was going from the second they handed him the keys...

I and my siblings were handed keys to some pretty sweet wheels at that age...and were all still alive. It's not the parents' fault.
posted by ericb at 9:21 PM on January 29, 2008


*we're*
posted by ericb at 9:22 PM on January 29, 2008


You make a car that tops out at 75mph, and it's going to be a poorly-accelerating dog

not true - i had a vw 411 with a 4 cylinder porsche that wouldn't do a damn thing over 75 - but up to that it was the most awesome accelerating monster ever

at a stop light i once found myself next to a bunch of kids in a tricked out chevy and they were revving up their engine at me, being smartasses - this was 1977 and little subcompacts were considered pieces of shit - obviously, the next thing they were planning on doing was stomping on the gas and blowing my crappy doors off

well, they got the surprise of their lives when the light turned green, i slammed the pedal down to the floor and it took them a mile to draw even - and that's where i discovered that it just didn't have anything past 70 or so

well, it was a 45 mph divided highway, so it's probably just as well
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on January 29, 2008


I don't know why the adamant withholders of sympathy bother me so much. Maybe because no one asked for your tears. Or maybe it's because it sounds like sympathy is some sort of commodity to be hoarded, and only given to those who "deserve" it.Part of it has to do with the perception that thos who are quick to withhold sympathy when it's undeserved never seem to be as voracious as doling it out when it's due. Or it's that unbending rigidity that ignores the simple fact of life that governs us all...

shit happens.

Cliche and trite? Of course. But for anyone to claim to know exactly what the one variable in the equation that made the difference between life and death in this particular situation is ludicrous. And to somehow pass judgement on the deserved amount of sympathy required as a response. Well, that's just inhuman. The reason we feel sympathy, sadness and remorse in the face of death is because it's both inevitable and completely out of our hands.

As the stories many of us have shared allude to, these kids could have have had a close-call, learned a little respect for horsepower and lived long productive lives. Or died a horrible fiery death. Or any of an infinite number of outcomes in between.

If he had hit the brakes a second sooner, and pulled up short,would we be hailing him as a driving genius, praising his parents for giving him such a well engineered vehicle? Or would we just call him call him lucky?

Like a lot of us have said here, we've done and survived some really stupid stuff. There's a word for actions in which your living or dying is predicated on your choice to partake in that action. It's called suicide. Everything else is just risky behavior. Every story you can think up about someone doing something stupid and dying, there's a story about someone doing something stupid and living. Or doing something completely benign and dying.

Healthy, risk-averse people die all the time. Keith Richards still roams the earth.

Part of being alive is taking the chance every day that something wil kill you. Life is risk, and if life teaches us one thing it's that humans are lousy at judging risk. We're a trial and error species. And we have this ridiculous tendency to take credit for our successes and blaming luck for our failures. unless it's other people we're discussing, in which case we do the exact opposite.

Every other action in life short of suicide (and sometimes even that) is an act of chance. Otherwise we'd only die of old age. If we can't take credit when the dice come up in our favor, then maybe we shouldn't pass judgement against those who aren't so lucky.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:29 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I and my siblings we're handed keys to some pretty sweet wheels at that age

Fair dinkum, you's talk weird.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on January 29, 2008


ericb wrote: Fuck you

revmitcz wrote: And it's really, really hard for me to imagine you having an IQ above 85.

I commend the following to your attention:

note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.


Did you actually read the article? The posting by the kid talking about driving 140 miles an hour? You cool with that?

Are you really unaware of the fact that almost 50,000 people die every year in the US from car accidents and a really large percentage of these deaths involve drivers doing similarly anti-social things: drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving and the like?

We spend all this time talking about Iraq. I don't know anyone who's ever been killed in Iraq but I sure as shit know people who've been savaged by morons like this in automobiles.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:35 PM on January 29, 2008


The reason that I am unsympathetic is that a heck of a lot of the time, these stories end up with a lot of other people killed.

Trust me, some kid goes climbing on a hydro tower and gets fried, he might be stupid but I'll cry for him -- it's sad. But some guy with a muscle car who drives at insane speeds at night and endangers everyone's lives, I can only be glad when he's off the road.

Let's put this into perspective. There were less then 3000 Americans killed on 9/11. There have been less than 4000 active duty American soldiers killed in Iraq. There have been almost 300,000 Americans killed by cars in the US since 9/11 -- that's over 40 times as many -- and we absolutely know that about half of them were the victims of drunk drivers and at least half the rest the victim of reckless drivers.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:40 PM on January 29, 2008


Part of being alive is taking the chance every day that something will kill you.

And this gives you the right to seriously endanger the lives of people around you... because...?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:42 PM on January 29, 2008


stonesy writes "Sadly, we'll see more of this sort of thing with the availability of sub $30K vehicles that produce 300+ horsepower off the lot and can be modified to make 500 or 600 by your roid-raged, backward baseball cap wearing high school yahoo."

Save for a brief period in the 70s cars with these kinds of power levels have been available to the masses as far back as the 30s. Even then the used 60s cars filled the niche.

maxwelton writes "Everyone I know who races on a track drives slowly and safely on the road, partially because once you've driven on a closed course you realize how nutso the open road is, but also because you've gotten the 'need to speed' out of your veins."

I sure haven't notice a correlation like that. In fact I've known quite a few people who thought they could safely drive like manics on the street because they had track experience.

lupus_yonderboy writes "I don't know anyone who's ever been killed in Iraq but I sure as shit know people who've been savaged by morons like this in automobiles."

No one was at risk here except the occupants of the car. People do risky stuff all the time, railing against it would be a full time job.

lupus_yonderboy writes "And this gives you the right to seriously endanger the lives of people around you... because...?"

Are we still talking about the single vehicle accident with no other cars around occurring on a private airstrip? Or are you grinding a more general axe here?
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 PM on January 29, 2008


You're saying that there is no way in the world to build a car that doesn't weigh 4,000 lbs and have 200 horsepower now?

Hey, lookit that! It's one of them Smart cars. Weighs 1800 lbs with a 70hp engine. Sure y'all ain't got 'em down in the good ol' USA, but we got 'em up here in Canada and they don't seem to sell too badly. Oh wait now, looks like they'll be showing up in the USA pretty soon. Cheap too.

Frankly, you can get better small cars in Europe that are a lot more fuel efficient than the Smart car (or you can get a big 2700lb diesel Jetta with 110hp that is just as efficient as the Smart or a older, diesel Smart that uses a lot less fuel).
posted by ssg at 9:50 PM on January 29, 2008


Did you actually read the article? The posting by the kid talking about driving 140 miles an hour? You cool with that?

No. But writing off his and his friends' deaths as if they deserved it due to socio-economic considerations ("I don't have a lot of sympathy for rich kids who do stupid things.") pisses me off.

BTW -- sometimes the use "Fuck You" is an appropriate means of expressing one's true feelings. I apologize if such language offends you.
posted by ericb at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2008


But some guy with a muscle car who drives at insane speeds at night and endangers everyone's lives, I can only be glad when he's off the road.

So by your logic, it's better for those who drive recklessly to be killed than to learn a lesson and continue living?

No one here is claiming that what they did was smart or safe by any means, but they had safe intentions (asking for help online, doing it on a private airfield instead of public roads, etc). I agree most with billyfleetwood and freshwater_pr0n, it's shit luck.

I don't see the purpose in commending their deaths. There are still way more dangerous drivers/people in the world and that does nothing to lower their numbers. Informing them of how they can learn from the sad mistakes of others, however...
posted by patr1ck at 10:01 PM on January 29, 2008


Did you actually read the article? The posting by the kid talking about driving 140 miles an hour? You cool with that?

*Yes...I read the article. I'm not cool with his preparation and actions to take his BMW at 140 m.p.h.*
posted by ericb at 10:03 PM on January 29, 2008


Yeah -- ya' know what? James Dean deserved to die and got everything coming to him when he died in his Porsche 550 Spyder that day in near Cholame, California in 1955. After all he was white, wealthy and a fim star. Deserved his privileged fate, amirite?
posted by ericb at 10:10 PM on January 29, 2008


But for anyone to claim to know exactly what the one variable in the equation that made the difference between life and death in this particular situation is ludicrous.

just a wild guess, but i was thinking that going down a pitch black runway at 140 mph at 3 am in the morning could have had SOMETHING to do with it, eh?

i do have some sympathy for them - but damn, how can you possibly pretend that criminally bad, stupid judgment wasn't the main cause here?

sometimes, the results speak for themselves, don't they?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:12 PM on January 29, 2008


This thread has turned into a carwreck.
posted by geoff. at 10:15 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aren't teenage girls typically considered more proficient/ less aggressive drivers? Isn't that why their insurance is usually lower?

From what I have experienced and observed, girls are just as bad as men are when it comes to driving. Men just get caught more.

Here would be an interesting stat to look at: Road test failures per attempt by gender.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:31 PM on January 29, 2008


This references a study that says men are better drivers.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:37 PM on January 29, 2008


An excercise in pespective, perhaps. I know perhaps as an Australian (our death toll for the Iraq imbroglio is much much less) I don't have the right to lecture Americans on this, but where are the 200 comments mourning their deaths? The death of these boys in comparison to the millions that will die of malaria this year (in perhaps less made for TV fashion) seems insignificant; but then again, is one death capable of being more tragic than the other?

Some of the comments in this thread really do frighten me, and I've been accused of being heartless more than a few times.
posted by oxford blue at 10:42 PM on January 29, 2008


Yeah -- ya' know what? James Dean deserved to die and got everything coming to him when he died in his Porsche 550 Spyder that day in near Cholame, California in 1955. After all he was white, wealthy and a fim star. Deserved his privileged fate, amirite?

Kind of, but for another reason: he was dosed up to the eyeballs on amphetamines at the time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:52 PM on January 29, 2008


And this gives you the right to seriously endanger the lives of people around you... because...?

I'm not takling about rights I'm talking about reactions. I'm talking about the ability to say with all due gravitas and wisdom "Don't do that, it's dangerous and stupid" and afterwards still find a way to say "I'm sorry that didn't turn out well"

Sympathy doesn't necessarily mean sadness. It can also mean a common understanding or feeling. Even if we aren't sad, we understand why others are. If our stupidity hasn't killed us we understand that others aren't so lucky.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:57 PM on January 29, 2008


our death toll for the Iraq imbroglio is much much less

that's because our canny ex-prime minister negotiated well the terms of our following the US into Iraq, in order to protect his political interests back home, whilst letting dubya think he was supporting the neocon crusade: Australian forces used almost exclusively for safe technical support roles (air traffic controllers, anyone? how about some telephone sanitisers?).

apart from the SAS, of course, but they eat Navy Seals for breakfast. /derail

posted by UbuRoivas at 11:01 PM on January 29, 2008


Sympathy doesn't necessarily mean sadness. It can also mean a common understanding or feeling.

Yeh, c'mon. Five families woke up to find that their sons had died at once, with their lives hardly even begun. That's a hell of a lot of hurt, not even taking into account the fact that their bodies were probably splattered into a million pieces, unrecognisable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:05 PM on January 29, 2008


Are you serious? Because planes LAND on runways. Because sometimes these planes carry dozens or hundreds of people. Because the pilot is not at all expecting to see a car on the runway. Because even if this is a regional runway and you aren't expecting a plane, sometimes planes, even fairly large planes, get diverted to them with little or no notice.

Is it really possible that a plane carrying dozens or hundreds of people would get diverted to a private runway at 3am? Calling it a regional airport makes it sound like Burbank, or Van Nuys, but isn't this basically a strip of tarmac that a bunch of people own?

I guess the chances of a car/airplane accident sound pretty slim to me. But you sound like an expert. How many airplane/automobile accidents happen on private runways each year?
posted by IvyMike at 11:28 PM on January 29, 2008


just a wild guess, but i was thinking that going down a pitch black runway at 140 mph at 3 am in the morning could have had SOMETHING to do with it, eh?

My point was that while doing what he did while was stupid and risky , it doesn't GUARANTEE death. Every day people do fatally stupid things and live. When they live we call them lucky. Stupid, and hopefully wiser from the experience, but still lucky. When they die, they're just stupid. It's all too easy to forget about the lucky part, not to mention the "too bad you didn't live to learn from the experience" part.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:30 PM on January 29, 2008


How many airplane/automobile accidents happen on private runways each year?

True. After all, the car is probably quicker than a simple bunny.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:35 PM on January 29, 2008


"This is why every kid should be given a '92 Ford Taurus as their first car."

Oh, I don't know. Just the other day, a (most likely speeding) 20-year old lost control over his Ford not far from where I live, on a road I travel every day, and flew 75 feet before hitting a house in mid-air. That didn't end well.
posted by effbot at 11:57 PM on January 29, 2008


Kind of, but for another reason: he was dosed up to the eyeballs on amphetamines at the time.

With all due respect, what's your source for that? My understanding was always that James Dean was not speeding (although it was a popular rumor), but rather it was the unfortunate illegal left turn of a 23 year old Cal Poly student and purely accident. His personal life aside, I have never heard amphetamines as any sort of reason for the accident that caused his death.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:24 AM on January 30, 2008


miss lynnster: from the source of all truth: Suede
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:35 AM on January 30, 2008


Back in college we had a bullpen session that turned up something like a 25%-33% rate of accidents within days/weeks of getting licenses. Two people had actually been in accidents the same day they got theirs. This reminds me of that.
posted by dhartung at 12:39 AM on January 30, 2008


It seems to have occurred to no one that driving a car on a runway is intrinsically dangerous and irresponsible.

People seem to be focusing on this a lot, actually, like it's some strange, crazy thing. It's not.

I used to be part of a car club that would regularly rent out private air strips to host auto-crossing (auto-x) events. They happen to be just about the only place where you can be guaranteed large patches of even, flat, paved surface that's fenced in and safe (race tracks are the other obvious option). In auto-x you run timed races, which means one car at a time--again, for safety. The only people crazy enough to compete head-to-head are professional race car drivers.

With auto-x, however, the focus is on handling. So the track is set up with tons and tons of curves. You rarely ever get more than 50 or 60 mph., and even then there are accidents. Of course, an accident at 60 mph. is a world away from one at 160 mph.

To the person who claimed to own an M5 that would "easily" get over 200 mph., I have to laugh. Getting anything on four wheels past 200 mph. takes an assload of flat, even pavement without obstacles, and even then it's hard for even the most expensive supercars. It's exponentially more difficult to get a car to go that fast as the forces of friction are working against the very nature of a car's design (four wheels, large windshield, etc.) Most exotics top-out at around 180. 200 is 6-digit car territory. The Veyron can hit 250, but that's with 1000 horsepower, 4 superchargers, 10 radiators, special high-speed hydrolics to push the car down closer to the road... and if you stayed at 250 you'd deplete your gas tank in about 12 minutes and your tires would disintegrate in 15. When Top Gear did it's review, it needed to utilize the Volkswagen test track at Ehra-Lessien--really, more a small highway--to get there.

And that's the problem with this story. They didn't have a small highway. They had a private air strip. Even if you can get a car up to 200 mph., you still need to get it back down to 0. They were probably trying to push the envelope to see how fast they could get the thing and misjudged their stopping distances, of which you need a lot unless you don't mind ending up off the tarmac. I guess I can understand the urge. You push and get 150... let's try again... 160! Let's try again... 165! Let's... sorry, dude. No more chances.

Doing that sort of driving with four other people in the car is just so fucking monumentally stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I mean, christ, that's the total capacity of the damned thing, including the middle seat. What in the fuck?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:02 AM on January 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Doing a little physics from the knowns in the problem (85 foot tall embankment,
200 foot trajectory, hitting the tree 15 feet up) gives a flight time of 2.1 seconds.
To travel 200 feet from the edge of the embankment to the tree they would have
to be going between 63 and 68 mph when they started flying, depending on how
the distances were measured.
posted by the Real Dan at 2:09 AM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient writes "To the person who claimed to own an M5 that would 'easily' get over 200 mph., I have to laugh. Getting anything on four wheels past 200 mph. takes an assload of flat, even pavement without obstacles, and even then it's hard for even the most expensive supercars. It's exponentially more difficult to get a car to go that fast as the forces of friction are working against the very nature of a car's design (four wheels, large windshield, etc.) Most exotics top-out at around 180. 200 is 6-digit car territory.

Hear, hear. When Dodge first got the Charger Daytona up past 200mph it took 500+ hp, a car aero tuned for the track to the point of practically undriveability on the street, a team of engineers and mechanics, and 2.66 miles of tri-oval.
posted by Mitheral at 3:14 AM on January 30, 2008


"It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for incredibly privileged youth."

It never fails to surprise me how even in the face of tragedy there's always someone righteous enough to be a classist douchebag.

Yes indeed -- let's feel less compassion for the foolish kid because you're jealous of his allowance. That makes sense. That's defensible.

I wonder if it would be as defensible if the sentiment were reversed: "It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for some ignonymous poor kid."

Jeeze Louise.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 3:37 AM on January 30, 2008


I remember in Drivers Ed being shown "Highway Safety" film and yes miss lynnster those are armored 50's Chevys wrapped around the tree.

I was talking to a friend of my son; who told me about the time a HS dweeb was trying to be cool with dad's new GTO. He packed 4 buddies (including the kid I was talking to) into the GTO and went to make the scene. Drinking led to the bright idea of going down to the local grass air strip and running over a few lights. Well a few was great but more would be even better, natch right? My kid is screaming that "we made the point, ok "saying "'no, just go. Running over a few more and here comes the state militia and of course the dumb ass tried to speed away but ended, stuck in a rutted corn field. The kid I know grabs the other guy in the back with him and said "just follow me , and we will get outta this.. " They spent the next 5 hours belly crawling, sometime with the the police right on top. There were cops with flashlights everywhere. Several times the law almost walking on them, but all the flashlights interfered with night vision necessary to see them laying face down in the muck.They got out of the fields, taking 5 hours to get away. Daylight came and the police disappeared.

His story reminded me of tripping at 3am in rural VA, in the back of a brand new van. Looking between the Capt. chairs I saw what appeared to be a movie screen with parallel yellow lines rushing into the lights; framed by darknesses and woods. Next frame has a mailbox being run over; with a loud clunk it's gone, outta frame. Now we are we running over several mail boxes. Next the van climbs up the hill and then starts to roll. I thought that I was a tennis shoe banging around in a clothes dryer. We came to rest with everybody laughing at the possibilities that the van would blow up in a giant fireball, hey like the movies. We crawled out and then crawled right back in to retrieve our stash and beer. Paramount was our need to protect our buzz. The Stateie who responded knew my Dad (school board) and then immediately noticed me. He said to get in the back of the cruiser, he'd give us a ride back to our county. He inquired if we had been drinking and we all chimed in with "a little". All the radio voices & different colored lights blinking woah! Tripping and talking to the State police was very difficult. To notch it up a bit he turned on the lights and pulled over on to the shoulder of the road to make sure the guy in a pickup who had hit a deer was ok....now, pleeze the ruby slippers! "There is no place like home!)

The last 40 years has been on barrowed time, a gift.
posted by Rancid Badger at 3:47 AM on January 30, 2008


This is what happens when you kick kids off your lawn.
posted by srboisvert at 4:01 AM on January 30, 2008


Perhaps he thought the conveyor belt would keep him from taking off.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:04 AM on January 30, 2008


Are you serious? Because planes LAND on runways. Because sometimes these planes carry dozens or hundreds of people. Because the pilot is not at all expecting to see a car on the runway. Because even if this is a regional runway and you aren't expecting a plane, sometimes planes, even fairly large planes, get diverted to them with little or no notice.

This is a private, residential strip. With Landing lights that come on by radio command for a plane to see the strip and establish it's final approach. There is no such thing as landing a plane at any airstrip with 'no notice'. It requires time to approach, enter the correct circuit for approach and slow the plane down gradually to land it. You, clearly, don't know a damn thing about how much it takes to land a plane on an airstrip.

My guess is they'd have anything between 4 and 6 minutes between the lights coming on and making everything daylight (ie impossible not to notice), and a plane coming in to the strip. Which is, incidentally, astonishingly unlikely at a private strip at 3am and 4 minutes is really a huge amount of notice to slow down and even traverse the entire length of the strip to get off it at a reasonable speed, never mind just pull off to the side. This is also assuming that he didn't have a hand held radio monitoring the approach announcement channel.

Try reading the background information about the strip before suddenly deciding it is dangerous in case instant commercial airliners materialise on it. There's as much chance of that as one landing on your head on the highway.
posted by Brockles at 5:08 AM on January 30, 2008


It never fails to surprise me how even in the face of tragedy there's always someone righteous enough to be a classist douchebag.

what i find interesting is that most of the time someone's called out for classism in this society, it's because they're being accused of hating the upper class

I wonder if it would be as defensible if the sentiment were reversed: "It's a shame for the parents, but I'm not gonna get all teary for some ignonymous poor kid."

but you see, if it was some poor kids, the odds are that we wouldn't even be discussing it and we'd be not getting teary for them at all because we wouldn't have heard in the first place

that's the default mode in our society - that we don't hear about what happens to the poor and don't get teary about them

it's classist - but it's rarely pointed out, is it?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:34 AM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is why people need to go to racing school before they're allowed to drive a 500hp car.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is how the whole situation went down:

Kid takes the car to a high speed, brakes to a stop. He keeps doing these high speed runs, alone, and eventually figures out how to do a top-speed run on this runway. He knows how fast he'll go, and he knows where his braking point is.

Kid then puts his friends in the car, increasing the mass by 450 pounds. He makes the same run, but vastly underestimates the effect the added mass will have on the car's stopping power. Now at the same point where he would've been going 0 if he was alone, he's now going 60+mph. It's likely a bit worse, too, since the added weight will change the balance of the car, and hurt the braking dynamics.

Considering that they went off the end of the runway at about 60-70mph, the whole thing seems a lot like a young driver who didn't understand the effect of a "mild" weight change, and who probably missed his braking point by a car length or three.

As a kid, I did stupid shit on the roads that could've easily been fatal, as did nearly all of my friends. We were incredibly lucky, and it's terrible to see that not everybody is so fortunate.

If anything good can come from this, hopefully somebody, somewhere will think twice before they race anyplace other than the racetrack.

. <-- for the car.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:50 AM on January 30, 2008


pyramid termite: are you really justifying the anti-wealth classism that pervades this site on the basis that the media is more likely to report on an M5 crash near John Travolta's house than it is to report on a Honda Accord crash in an industrial park?

Really?

Weak.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:52 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pyramid: furthermore, I'd suggest that your claim that this is being reported on because of the wealth of the kids is completely incorrect.

These are possibly rich kids who snuck onto a private airport through an unguarded gate.

If poor kids had done this with an old Honda, it still would've made news, because it still would've been a horrific crash on John Travolta's airstrip.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:57 AM on January 30, 2008


"WRT guns, I don't see why you'd factor out 'gang bangers and drug related killings'. Seems a little arbitrary to me."

Yeah, I guess you're right. Even when you include gang banger shootings/etc, many many more teenagers die in car wrecks. Traumatic injuries are the #1 killer of children, yet it's still popular to concoct ridiculous gun laws because it might save the life of a child.

Meanwhile, car crashes claimed the lives of a dozen people alone here in the past week.

My point is still the same - it's too easy to get a drivers license. Inadequate education and 'too much car' for the kids. Remember that whole "It's a privilege, not a right" thing at the DMV? Too many people on the road that shouldn't be. Taking risks that endanger others.

As for this kid, had he been alone in the car it'd be one thing, but he took out four other people at the same time.
posted by drstein at 8:01 AM on January 30, 2008


One more point, pyramid termite: the reason this got attention was because of pervasive anti-wealth classism.

"Average kids die in an average car" is local news only, because it's a tragedy, but a local one. There are no other angles.

"Rich kids die in a fancy car" goes national not because people love the kids, but because so many people get a little schadenfreude when they see somebody who was more fortunate in some ways dying in a particularly stupid way. It's still a local tragedy, but for the hateful masses, it's a chance to be glib.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2008


pyramid termite: are you really justifying the anti-wealth classism

i'm pointing out that anti-poor classism is much more prevalent in our society to the point where people have taken it for granted

of course, the minute someone says so, people line up to deny it - or accuse you of "justifying" it, whatever that meaningless rhetorical flourish is supposed to mean

seeing as the rich are SO oppressed in our society ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 AM on January 30, 2008


to whom it may concern - people who flame by metamail will be blocked - no exceptions
posted by pyramid termite at 8:23 AM on January 30, 2008


freshwater_pr0n: "I'd rather have died in a fiery crash at 19 than to never have done a stupid thing in my life. Leave lives untouched by mad fits of giggles, wild drunken nights, all-night conversations in diners, ill-fated romances, epic pranks and forays into psychedelic drugs to the actuaries, American Idol fans and the HR staff at WalMart."

As one of the many quietly risk-averse people in the world, I have to fix this misconception. We take the position that happiness is best found in a relatively sedate, predictable life. Most of us are introverts. That doesn't mean we are stupid or unsuccessful.

One of my friends who worked in retail used to talk about the incredible drama that the floor workers and managers filled their lives with. Drunk every weekend, with little affairs and screwings and screwings-over exchanged regularly, and so on.

Personally, I'm a lot quieter. I like to read, garden, play video games, write, &c. I have never been drunk in my life. Nor have I ever had an all-night conversation in a diner, an ill-fated romance (bachelorhood suits me), or any encounters with psychedelic drugs. Am I boring? Maybe. My friends don't think so, but you probably wouldn't like me very much.

I just sort of think that if people weren't told by the media and people around them from the time they're children that excitement and speed and power and sex and money and the pursuit of all those things are the keys to the world--well, there wouldn't be so many people who die in despair or in violence because of them.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:47 AM on January 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


What you're talking about Pyramid Termite is related to what I call the "only pretty white women go missing" phenomenon. It's an oversimplification, but like most oversimplifications easily recognized once pointed out. I do think that generally speaking we are conditioned to seek out and react appropritely to certain types of "tragedies" while ignoring others. But speaking specifically about this particular story, i think the main hook is the posting to the message board, as kids dying in car crashes, is usually not worthy of 'big" news. Why? Because it don't sell Civics.

It's frustrating, but easily countered by leading a personally diverse life, traveling a lot, and not watching television news.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:01 AM on January 30, 2008


Pyramid termite is dangerously wrong. This was news for two reasons:

Reason 1) They broke into John Travolta's airstrip to kill themselves.

Reason 2) The fact that it's a nice car adds some schadenfreude from the hate the rich crowd. The media knows people love these stories, which is why we all know exactly how broken Britney Spears is. Because people are happy when they read about rich people getting fucked.

Somehow or another, pyramid termite has turned those two things around, and claimed that this is all proof of how anti-poor the media is, but I take it as just the opposite.

Anyway, perhaps the whole classism discussion could be moved elsewhere, as my initial objection to it was that this is an inappropriate forum for a discussion on class. I thought it was ludicrously tasteless of pyramid termite and others to use the death of youngsters as a forum to talk in snarky tones about how much they hate the rich. If you really want to talk about how much you hate the rich, and how easy their lives are, and how you are superior to them, please do so in this thread.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:30 AM on January 30, 2008


watching people froth at the mouth because i point out an obvious truth - that the brunt of classism falls upon the poor - is a sign of how deep the denial goes in this society

Anyway, perhaps the whole classism discussion could be moved elsewhere

90% of the whole classism discussion is you yapping like reagan's lapdog - do a word count

moderator, moderate thyself

I thought it was ludicrously tasteless of pyramid termite and others to use the death of youngsters as a forum to talk in snarky tones about how much they hate the rich.

do you have a quote from me to back that up?

where did i say i hated the rich?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 AM on January 30, 2008


Worth noting, perhaps, that the notion of the Darwin awards, which are about "removing yourself from the human gene pool" is fatally flawed for the most part.

Pop quiz: when some good old boy does something stupid with a power cable or stick of dynamite and dies, and he leaves a wife and seven children, why should he not receive a Darwin award?


First, the Darwin awards are intended to be humorous. They're not intended to serve as actual examples of evolution in progress.

Second, if they were supposed to illustrate evolution, "he had seven children" would not be a reason against an award, for the simple reason that he might have had more if he had lived. Natural selection doesn't only select between having offspring and not having offspring; it also selects for number of offspring.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:56 AM on January 30, 2008


It's an unattended private strip. No airport, no control.
posted by aramaic at 6:54 PM on January 29 [+] [!]


Wait, Travolta lands a 727 on an unattended strip with no control? Forget the kids in the Beemer. That is crazy shit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:12 AM on January 30, 2008


Tacos, you need to get something straight-- most rich people are not like this M5-driving moron and plenty of people on MeFi were raised in the same trappings of wealth as this kid. The reason is attracts so much ire is because it is an example of such horrid, blatant stupidity and waste of life and money that some of us are just stunned by the idiocy of it all.

It's the sense of entitlement and stupidity and public bragging about it from the victim that is why people have such a feeling of disdain for the driver. While the outward trappings of the accident (the M5, the private airstrip in the elite community, etc.) are such that it could have only happened to someone rich, it is the very public entitlement and lack of judgment on the part of the victims and the parents that leave people with such a bad taste in their mouths.

You seem to be in a tizzy because someone called a rich moron a rich moron. Once again, ironic how "classism" is only a charged leveled against criticism against someone rich.
posted by deanc at 10:16 AM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"This is why every kid should be given a '92 Ford Taurus as their first car."

OK. Just don't make it an SHO.

I took a 1990 SHO with a 5 speed box and the Yamaha aluminum 6 to over 140 once (again, the speedometer pinned out), also on a rural west Texas road with endless visibility and not a soul in sight for 10 miles. I thought I was going to take off. And that was a very heavy RWD car with performance tires and suspension. I think it took about a mile and a half to get back down to 70. My heart still races when I remember the feeling of going that fast, which was the fastest I've ever gone on land other than in a Japanese bullet train (which is also awesome) or a plane landing.

Good thing I was going in a straight line. A year later, I spun that car out at about 70 on another Texas road (in front of the Creedmoor dump, for you Austinites, on that long curve, but this was before people lived in Hays county). I wasn't trying to fly at all, just driving fairly normally (70 was the average speed on that road) when I hit the curve going just a wee bit too fast (Ok, maybe it was 75) or with my tires just a little too worn (that machine ate tires and went out of alignment if yu looked at it crooked) or geared up too high or something (talk about a finicky gearbox). I spun out about 12 times at high speed before coming to a stop with my bumper pressed into the guardrail and not a scratch on me or the car except that front bumper. If anyone had been coming the other way (or been behind me) it would have been spectacularly fatal evening-news-worthy crash. Cured me for good, really. I knew I was getting a second chance to live when I got out of that car. I had no right to walk away. And I could have killed a few other people, though at least I wasn't *trying* to be reckless.

I was 26. That was the last time I felt the need for speed for a long time. The SHO died soon thereafter, and I bought an old Mazda B2400 pickup after that with a top end of 85 miles an hour going downhill, but I must say that the clutch on that truck lasted over 180K miles. Road musician, a lot of highway driving, but still . . . what a wonderful truck . And now I wants me a little Mazda 3 Speed or Subaru WRX, strictly for transportation, you understand . . . so I guess the testosterone thing comes back when you start losing your hair.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:28 AM on January 30, 2008


And hey, look, when rich people kill themselves, it's always news. There are fewer of them, you know? But there's not much a corpse can do with $$$ so I vote for laying off the kids.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:30 AM on January 30, 2008


Yes we all did stupid things as kids... This was just tragic.
But my assumption is this... Is this the first time took the car on the runway? From his post on the forum he seems to be asking: "is it normal for a rough shift at 140-mph?" Leading me to believe that he had been on the runway at least once before. So, the night he crashed he was comfortable(somewhat) with the speed he exceeded for proper stopping distance.
Most owners I know with fast sport cars take them out to race track "track days". Learning the limits of the cars with help of instructors.
The country that BMW hails from has famous rules for even getting a drivers license. It can be expensive, requires testing and classes and takes a bit of time.
posted by orgvol at 10:36 AM on January 30, 2008


But I should point out, against all the testosterone slinging here (I plead guilty) that the SHO hotrod I was driving (silver, black leather interior, 5 speed) belonged to my then girlfriend. Yeah, a chick with an SHO. You can imagine the attraction. But that's another long story.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:38 AM on January 30, 2008


The media knows people love these stories, which is why we all know exactly how broken Britney Spears is. Because people are happy when they read about rich people getting fucked.

These 'people' you refer to - I assume you're one, but who else? No one I know reacts the way you describe, and everyone I've heard speak about those stories does so with disdain. Because the media claims to be giving us what we want does not make it true.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:42 AM on January 30, 2008


deanc: "Once again, ironic how "classism" is only a charged leveled against criticism against someone rich."

Well, to be fair, it could be leveled even more quickly against anyone who criticized the poor as a group, but it's far less socially acceptable to make such criticism, and there are far more withering social sanctions you can bring against anyone who does.

Criticizing the rich is pretty easy sport, frankly; if you want to talk crap about the poor in public, you're better off doing it in a much more roundabout, careful, and code-worded way. (Cf. professional politicians.) Thus it's easier to accuse people who denigrate the rich of being 'classists' -- they're generally much more obvious.

Anyway, I have no strong feelings either way on the rest of the argument. If you live hard, drive fast, and try to cheat death -- which I think is entirely within any adult's right to do, as long as they don't risk anyone who's not consenting -- sometimes death wins. I have infinitely more respect for the driver in this case than I do for anyone who's ever driven drunk on a public road. Kind of a pity about the other guys in the car, but I have a feeling they had a rough idea of what they were getting into.

A whole lot of people don't get the opportunity to die while doing something they had any choice of participating in. Getting run down while standing in your driveway, checking your mail? Now that sucks. Dying while racing cars, base-jumping, or playing Russian Roulette? C'est la vie.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:57 AM on January 30, 2008


drstein writes "As for this kid, had he been alone in the car it'd be one thing, but he took out four other people at the same time"

Who cares, lacking any indicators to the contrary one could assume he didn't kidnap them and they were their of their own free will. If someone had offered me the chance to see the north side of 140 in a fancy new BMW when I was 18 I would have been all over it. Heck I'd be tempted now; only the responsibilities I've gained since then deterring me.

fourcheesemac writes "I took a 1990 SHO with a 5 speed box and the Yamaha aluminum 6 to over 140 once (again, the speedometer pinned out), also on a rural west Texas road with endless visibility and not a soul in sight for 10 miles. I thought I was going to take off. And that was a very heavy RWD car with performance tires and suspension."

Um, the SHO is FWD.
posted by Mitheral at 11:49 AM on January 30, 2008


Shit, you're right Mitheral. I forgot. It's been almost 20 years.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:40 PM on January 30, 2008


I'm 22. I spent most of last night in a hospital with one of my best friends. I still have his blood on my clothes. He was skateboarding down a hill. He was skateboarding down a hill at night. He was skateboarding down a hill, at night, without a helmet or any other protective gear, and he'd never tried this before.

He would have been going 40 or 50 km/hr when he came off the board. I never want to see something so violent happen to a human body again. I don't know how many times he rolled, but the last few metres he just skidded along, face first against the asphalt. He broke his collarbone, needed 13 stitches in his head, and is covered in grazes. I know it could have been a lot worse.

We're not stupid kids though- he's studying biology, I just graduated as a geologist, the other people there were law and medicine and ecology students. We're all mature, responsible, young adults.

Why did he do it? Why did we watch without more than a cursory "don't do it, man"? Why would a teenager drive his car that fast along a runway? It's because it never goes wrong. The fact that this kid could have been writing about his exploits for so long shows that he has a whole history of things working out. My friend has history of ridiculous stunts and has never hurt himself before. Hell, at 7am on New Years Day I was drunkenly jumping from roof to roof, three stories up. I've done stuff like that before, it's never gone wrong, stop being so worried!

This is part of growing up. Next time I'm standing on a rooftop, or thinking whether I should try leaping off the jetty, over the boat and into the ocean, I'm going to remember last night. I'm going to remember holding a tshirt against my friend's head as my knees were soaked with his blood running down the road. Until last night, I didn't have a memory to hold me back, an experience to warn me of what could go wrong (and yes, I knew it was possible for things to go wrong, but they never did).

I'm just glad that the price of my warning was a horrible night and a broken collarbone. If there had been a car coming the other way, if he had fallen differently, the cost of that warning could have been much worse.

Were those kids stupid? Yes. Was I? Yes. But it was a stupid that can't be swayed by logic or reason. It's a stupid that only ends when you see the consequences, because until then things have always worked out in your favour.
posted by twirlypen at 3:23 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


This reaffirms my belief that "But for the grace of God..." maximizes the trite::truth cliché curve.

If not for something no less magical than a warp in the space-time continuum I would have eliminated myself and the lives of at least two other people. The sweep speedometer was rated to 120mph and the needle was bouncing off the dash when she made that right hand turn on to the theoretically unused two lane street I was occupying the middle of. Twenty years later this last October and I can still see the look on her face as I flew by her and the oncoming vehicle in rapid succession using some kind of preternatural Jedi reflexes that not only avoided the accident but kept me from rolling that beast. A 1970 Chevelle is a straight-line monster and a lumbering ox in the corners.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I pulled into the next parking lot I came across so I could shake and cry like a junkie kicking.

A sad day for the families involved.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:28 PM on January 30, 2008


Do you think they would like a re-do?
posted by Senator at 4:49 PM on January 30, 2008


We're not stupid kids though ... We're all mature, responsible, young adults.

Were those kids stupid? Yes. Was I? Yes. But it was a stupid that can't be swayed by logic or reason.


You're right about the logic.
posted by bonaldi at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2008


Okay, if we're going to get caught up on words- I think it's possible to do a stupid thing without being a stupid person. Better?
posted by twirlypen at 5:40 PM on January 30, 2008


Since words are all we've got on this forum, we're 'caught up on' them pretty much by definition. To make the place work, everybody has to be careful to say what they mean. Some are better at it than others, but if you write something that has a different meaning from what you intended, it's going to be interpreted the way you wrote it, not the way you meant it.

Yes, it's possible for generally smart people to do stupid things. At that moment, the person is stupid. To a stranger observing isolated acts of stupidity, it's impossible to tell whether the actor is a smart person or a stupid person most of the time. In the case of BMW Boy, I'd say he had a history of doing stupid things, or doing the same stupid thing repeatedly. Now I'll never have a chance to know him better, so for me, his legacy is not an example of brilliance.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:33 AM on January 31, 2008


Also worth noting that BMW kid too described himself as "mature" and "sensible" on the M5 forum, despite clearly being neither. It must be like that thing where more than 50% of people describe themselves at being above average for a given skill.
posted by bonaldi at 10:05 AM on January 31, 2008


Astounding how keen some people are to use the deaths of a group of people to make some kind of half-arsed moral point.

What is it with this hair trigger urge to blame somebody or other, even when the facts of the case are a long way from clear?

Just a lynch mob, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.
posted by Shinkicker at 5:53 PM on January 31, 2008


You're saying that the view that it's wrong to drive a car full of your friends at 140mph when you don't know what you're doing is a "half-arsed moral point"?

What is it with this hair trigger urge to excuse lethally stupid behavior, even when the relevant facts of the case are a perfectly clear?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 AM on February 2, 2008



anyone celebrating the death of a child for any reason, be it pecuniary envy or disapproval of habits deserves a similar fate. adolescence is tough on everyone.

I appreciate that this kid didn't do this on a public road. I disagree with his decision to take passengers with him on such a joyride. I am saddened he didn't understand the risk he put himself and others into or the workings of runway markings. but hate or joy are not emotions I feel or expect from a place like metafilter.

this is an accident.
a horrible, sad, regrettable accident.
posted by krautland at 6:14 PM on February 7, 2008


anyone celebrating the death of a child for any reason, be it pecuniary envy or disapproval of habits deserves a similar fate....this is an accident. a horrible, sad, regrettable accident.

AMEN!!!
posted by ericb at 9:03 PM on February 7, 2008


krautland writes "I am saddened he didn't understand the risk he put himself and others into"

What makes you think he didn't understand the risks?
posted by Mitheral at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2008


What makes you think he didn't understand the risks?

few eighteen year-olds commit suicide without leaving any indications of their tendencies.
posted by krautland at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2008


What's that got to do with it? He knows the car can go much faster than other cars, He doubtless knows that cars crash by going too fast for the conditions combined with a lack of control. He tried to take a car as fast as it would go.

It is impossible that he didn't know he was approaching some sort of limit. If he was aware of some sort of limit, he was aware of the risks. If he decided to do this on a deserted airstrip in the dead of night, for the thrill of it, not only did he fully understand the risks, he also knew they were considerable, or he wouldn't have gone to so much effort to 'push the envelope' in such a manner.

Of course, I'll ignore the slight inference that this may have in any way been a, even partially conscious, decision to commit suicide or in some way represents such a feeling in the kid..
posted by Brockles at 2:16 PM on February 9, 2008


krautland writes "few eighteen year-olds commit suicide without leaving any indications of their tendencies"

I see nothing in any of the linked material that indicates this was a suicide or even that the authorities are treating it as a possible suicide.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 PM on February 9, 2008


I'm pretty sure that was krautland's point Mitheral.
posted by dersins at 9:16 AM on February 10, 2008


Now I'm really confused. Is the point krautland is making that because there were no signs of it being suicide, therefore it was a clear indication of not understanding the risks? Because only people that kill themselves understand the risks they are using to off themselves?

Well that doesn't make any sense at all, if that's the case.
posted by Brockles at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2008


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