When the FBI managed to track down a stolen top-of-the-range Ferrari in 2008, its owner was understandably delighted.
But relief turned to red rage after one of the officers looking after the vehicle before its return took it out for a spin in Kentucky, lost control and smashed it into a hedge.
Now the owner is suing the U.S. Justice Department, driven to court after it refused to pay the $750,000 in damages to the wrecked sports car.
The flash Ferrari F50 was stolen in 2003 from a dealer in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and discovered five years later.
It was crashed while the FBI kept it in Lexington, Kentucky, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the theft.
FBI agent Fred Kingston was to move the Ferrari from a garage in May 2009 and invited Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson along with his for the ‘short ride’.
‘Just a few seconds after we left the parking lot, we went around a curve and the rear of the car began sliding,’ Thompson said in an email released to Motors Insurance Company, the Ferrari dealer’s insurer.
‘The agent tried to regain control but the car fishtailed and slid sideways up onto the curb. The vehicle came to rest against a row of bushes and a small tree.’
Thompson was not hurt in the crash, but FBI agent Kingston needed a few stitches for a cut on his head.
Pictures show the full damage done to the car, though, which suffered huge dents to its side.
Motors Insurance took ownership of the car after it paid the dealer for the theft in 2003.
The company told the government that the 1995 Ferrari, one of only 50 in the U.S., suffered substantial damage in the Kentucky crash and is a ‘total loss’.
‘At heart, it is a race vehicle’ and is not built like a typical car, truck or SUV, the insurer said in a claim for payment, partly explaining why it sought $750,000.
The Southfield, Michigan-based company filed a lawsuit in March, which will be heard in June, after the Justice Department refused to pay.
Motors Insurance has also filed a lawsuit to try to get hold of records about the incident through the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The Justice Department recently responded to the lawsuit by saying it is not liable for certain goods when they’re in the hands of law enforcement.
The government also has refused to release most documents related to the crash, saying most records are exempt.
‘We don’t really know what happened. We’ve asked for a lot of information,’ Motors Insurance attorney Richard Kraus said.