"This was more stupid than it was criminal."
March 8, 2019 3:48 PM   Subscribe

"The day before their Oct. 26 arrest, the brothers bought a blue 1967 Buick Skylark. Although they didn't have legal documents for the car, the brothers planned to drive it to Mexico without having to stop at any U.S. gas stations."
posted by eviemath (56 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
One of them has a Hitler stache and goatee in the mugshot.
posted by axiom at 3:53 PM on March 8


The Gang That Couldn't Think Straight...
posted by jim in austin at 4:02 PM on March 8


Stealth promo for Trailer Park Boys beer?
posted by rodlymight at 4:03 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


This is a weird story.
posted by salt grass at 4:05 PM on March 8


If we don’t move, they can’t see us and arrest us.
posted by Secretariat at 4:14 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


but...why? how can the story just end there?
posted by es_de_bah at 4:20 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Isn't gas in Canada about a third higher than in the US? There isn't one part of their "plan" that makes any sense. They must have been monumentally stoned.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:25 PM on March 8 [14 favorites]


Let's be generous and say they had (21) 5 gallon jerry cans (which don't seem likely to all fit in the Skylark). And let's say the Skylark gets 12 mpg. They would run out of gas at less than half the distance to Mexico, about 3,000 miles away.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:39 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Did their innocence somehow hinge on whether skidmarks indicated positraction?
posted by condour75 at 4:39 PM on March 8 [22 favorites]


Seriously, there must have been more to it. Nobody could be that dumb--

Wait. Never mind.
posted by suetanvil at 4:40 PM on March 8


So many things...
The showing up at the wrong border crossing.
The lack of passports.

This sounds almost like they were trying to escape some family situation? And had no knowledge of the outside world? I dunno, man.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:47 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


I have in my life, owned a ‘63 & a ‘71 Buick Skylark. I would never have depended on either of these vehicles to make it from Austin to the Mexican border.

These guys sound criminally insane.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:49 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


This sounds almost like they were trying to escape some family situation? And had no knowledge of the outside world? I dunno, man.

This early report of the incident describes them (no names yet) as "A 21-year-old man from Halifax and a 22-year-old man from Middle Sackville, N.S." (Middle Sackville is an outer suburb/exurb of Halifax), so they were living in two different places. Note also that Halifax is a five hour drive from the border crossing these two were at.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:00 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


They were arrested by U.S. border officials. Bailey was turned over to Canadian officials within 24 hours, but Damien tried to claim asylum in the U.S., which resulted in his detention there for about a month before he was handed over to Canadian authorities.

I am not a lawyer, much less an immigration lawyer, but I'm pretty sure "I'm a stupid motherfucker" isn't grounds for asylum anywhere.

but...why? how can the story just end there?

White people, man. It's like a superpower for avoiding real consequences.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:00 PM on March 8 [9 favorites]


Marijuana was legalized in Canada 10 days prior to this. It looks like a couple of guys didn't heed the advice on how strong the edibles were.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:09 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


We Canadaians really aren't sending our best. Sorry.
posted by klanawa at 5:10 PM on March 8 [25 favorites]


Isn't gas in Canada about a third higher than in the US? There isn't one part of their "plan" that makes any sense. They must have been monumentally stoned.

Yeah, it's way cheaper. Unless the plan involved some sort of bet where they were like "You don't think we can drive to Mexico in 24 hours? Watch this" challenge that involved never stopping and some kind of half-baked rolling refuel scheme in which they in turn repurposed the gas cans as piss jugs so they never had to stop once. While stupid, that scenario would at least showcase some ambition.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:12 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Let's be generous and say they had (21) 5 gallon jerry cans (which don't seem likely to all fit in the Skylark). And let's say the Skylark gets 12 mpg. They would run out of gas at less than half the distance to Mexico, about 3,000 miles away.

A gallon of gas weighs about 6.25 lbs -- how much worse is the mileage of a '67 Buick when it's carrying an extra 650+ lbs of fuel?
posted by nathan_teske at 5:19 PM on March 8 [8 favorites]


Their estranged father has his own opinions of the brothers.
posted by saucysault at 5:21 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


This story takes me way back to a stupid blurred rosy nostalgia, when driving an old Buick Skylark, Olds Cutlass, Chevy Chevelle, or Pontiac Beaumont was a thing.
posted by ovvl at 5:23 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Its comforting to know that the people I grew up with apparently are in every corner of the globe
posted by Dr. Twist at 5:23 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise on streets of American gold
We'd buy no gas, show no fear
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Buick's Skylarkteers
posted by mbrubeck at 5:24 PM on March 8 [59 favorites]


Corey Roy says he's spent many sleepless nights wondering where his sons got some of their unusual ideas on the world, but wishes he'd monitored their internet use more when they were younger.
“We don't have any kind of a relationship that fathers and sons should have, and I always hope it would change, but it seems to be getting worse,” Roy says.“They're still my sons, and I still love them.”


Hm, this is actually pretty sad. Based on what their dad had to say I wouldn't be surprised if their plan was to cause a ruckus at the border crossing and had nothing to do with Mexico.
posted by bleep at 5:35 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


So did someone on Instagram start a "Cross the US without stopping for gas" challenge or something? I can't keep up.
posted by Naberius at 5:40 PM on March 8


from saucysault’s link:

> “They have no respect for law enforcement whatsoever,” said Roy.

plus 5 points for theory, negative several million for praxis.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:42 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


They were on a mission from God to get the band back together and save the orphanage.
posted by briank at 5:47 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


I'm guessing the not buying american gas thing was an attempt to leave no trace, which sort of fits with the no documents, no plates thing, but nothing about this makes any sense.

I wonder if there was some kind of persecution delusion thing. Like the woman who grew up on the run from "the mafia"
posted by rodlymight at 5:51 PM on March 8


Their estranged father has his own opinions of the brothers.

He sure has an awful lot of opinions for being estranged from them and, from the sounds of it, not particularly (if at all?) involved in their lives for a while.
posted by eviemath at 5:52 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Based on what their dad had to say I wouldn't be surprised if their plan was to cause a ruckus at the border crossing and had nothing to do with Mexico.

Eh. The only specific example given of a bad thing they'd done before is a semi-running away incident on a camping trip. I'm with rodlymight on the leave no trace hypothesis, and this being another (really dumb) sort of running away fiasco.
posted by eviemath at 5:57 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Are we sure the real culprits weren't some other two white dudes in a Pontiac Tempest?
posted by duffell at 5:58 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


The real reason for the trip was to go and see Momo.
posted by seasparrow at 6:00 PM on March 8


"This was more stupid than it was criminal."

Wait, is this the new US Politics thread?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:03 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


but...why? how can the story just end there?

White people, man. It's like a superpower for avoiding real consequences.
Yeah, they apparently didn't commit any crime and spent like four months in the jug. Those white people get all the breaks.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:13 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


I think that there's a bit more to this than "couple of dumb guys bein' dumb." saucysault's link hints at some sort of chronic behavior problem:
There's been trouble before. Three years ago -- months before Damien was to graduate from high school, the young men announced they were going camping and simply never came home.

Search teams were dispatched, but called back when they came back home in the middle of the night and made it clear they didn't want any help.
The dad also makes this disturbing assertion: '"But at the same time, I'm really asking for the help of the court system to help get them some kind of mental health evaluation,” he said. “We tried a few years ago, and if you're not a willing participant, they cannot do anything for you.”' I dunno, maybe some sort of folie à deux?
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:16 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Yes, it's not standard behavior. But they seem more North Pond Hermit than attention-seeking, to me, based on the three articles I've now read on their story.
posted by eviemath at 6:30 PM on March 8


That interview with the dad just reminds me of those letters you occasionally see in advice columns, where the parent is all "my child just suddenly cut all contact with me for no reason, how do I get them to talk to me again?" where you know the letter writer is an unreliable narrator. It may not be quite as large a misrepresentation as that sort of letter undoubtedly is, but I don't trust that the dad's perspective in the linked interview is fully accurate.
posted by eviemath at 6:35 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Hmm, so the kids have also made several car excursions entirely within Canada in the past.
posted by eviemath at 6:43 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I do not want this to be real life. I want this to be a movie where you have NO IDEA what the movie’s genre is for most of the runtime.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:11 PM on March 8 [8 favorites]


Are we sure the real culprits weren't some other two white dudes in a Pontiac Tempest?

If this were a movie, I'd now be wondering just who slipped by the distracted border guards while the two brothers caused the hullabaloo.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:21 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Any bets these guys spend a lot of time on 4chan?
posted by klanawa at 7:24 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


I want this to be a movie where you have NO IDEA what the movie’s genre is for most of the runtime.

It’s either an episode that got cut from Stephen King’s The Stand, or a lost passage from an Elmore Leonard novel.
posted by valkane at 7:36 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


or it’s a zany canadian stoner comedy. or suddenly it breaks slasher-horror in the last act. Or they’re involved in serious spy stuff and were the diversion while the other team did [x]. or it’s revealed at the end that they’re time travelers or space aliens. In a movie, the potential explanations for their behavior are myriad and also widely divergent, and the tension from not knowing how it could break is where the fun of the movie comes from. (for a similar thing, see for example south korean cult movie “save the green planet”)

In real life, most of the explanations are super super sad and/or so infuriating, so it’s less fun.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:41 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Oh man, they seriously look like Trailer Park Boys extras. What was this, Operation Petroline?

Did anyone test the gasoline to see if hash or other drugs were dissolved in it to be chemically extracted later? Or the plastic of the gas cans themselves? Was the car made out of hash? Were one or both of the brothers and/or their facial hair made out of hash?

We should also probably test the border crossing just in case they cleverly replaced it with one made out of hash while everyone was distracted by the two hash dummies in the hash car.
posted by loquacious at 7:41 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


Roy also confirms they are the same men who were at the centre of a huge search effort in Halifax three years ago, when they failed to return from a camping trip.
FUs, man. FUs.
posted by flabdablet at 8:17 PM on March 8


A gallon of gas weighs about 6.25 lbs -- how much worse is the mileage of a '67 Buick when it's carrying an extra 650+ lbs of fuel?

I guess the weight would eventually get burned up, but very good point. I'm pretty confident this car could not function with 650 lbs on board, so if we go down to 1 gallon jerry cans, their range drops pretty dramatically down to 200-250 miles. They might just barely make it to New Hampshire.

And I wouldn't be surprised if petrol fumes impaired every decision they made after loading up the car.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:14 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]




mbrubeck gets my first ever 'fantastic comment' flag.
posted by pompomtom at 11:15 PM on March 8


Brocktoon: "I'm pretty confident this car could not function with 650 lbs on board"

A 67 Skylark is a 6 passenger car, 650lbs + plus two skinny guys is well within it's capabilities.

Also mileage would be heavily dependent on engine and driving habits. I bet there were/are lots of people getting 20+ mpg on the highway with their 67 Skylarks. I used to get 25 with my big block full size 66 Chrysler, a heavier car with a larger engine than offered in the Skylark.
posted by Mitheral at 12:50 AM on March 9


I will concede 16 mpg to a 6 cylinder with 650 lbs of cargo, tops.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:19 AM on March 9


I'm pretty confident this car could not function with 650 lbs on board,

650 lbs is 3ish people. The car has seating for 6.

The car will squat a bit, but still be well within its GVWR.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:55 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I guess the 'rocket equation' applies to a skylark full of fuel
posted by mbo at 5:00 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


My Mom had a '67 Skylark. Bloody car had too much engine. I floored it at a stop light and it nearly became airborne.

Brocktoonl yes. The fumes. It's a wonder they weren't killed by the fumes. Or blown up when they lit a joint.
posted by james33 at 6:51 AM on March 9


Bah! Should’ve gone for a Chevy Impala!
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:28 AM on March 9


I guess the 'rocket equation' applies to a skylark full of fuel

Tsiolkovsky Buick Equation
posted by nathan_teske at 8:47 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


See also: Kenny Carter.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:01 AM on March 9


People estimating over 20mpg are assuming the car is in flawless condition. It likely had completely worn out rings/low compression, a badly set up/gummed up carb, etc. I used to own a car like this(base model, smallest v8 similarly aged plymouth) and spent quite a while fixing it up, and at it's best before i didn't have time to deal with it i was MAYBE getting like 12-14mpg. A full tank of gas would get you like, 140-150 miles. And that was with one other person or alone, with no significant cargo besides my large toolbox(and i don't weigh much for my height).

I burned an entire tank of gas or like 90% in one 60 mile trip speeding a bit with a ton of weight in the car like this. Literally like, munched all of 15 gallons or whatever. And it wasn't running horribly rich or anything.

It also generally screwed up, randomly refused to idle well when hot/cold, or had issues starting hot every month or so.

I'm laughing my ass off at this. I attempted a couple long trips like this and broke down somewhere in some stupid way basically every time. even a 120 mile round trip was sketchy, and i'm very mechanically inclined.
posted by emptythought at 11:05 AM on March 19


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