UPDATE 3 (Dec. 24): We refrained from identifying the driver of the first Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to be wrecked — mainly because we didn’t want to embarrass him. Honestly, we really do feel bad for him and what happened. But the Colorado State Patrol recently released a report on the Dec. 19 mishap that totaled the $60,000 hot rod, including identifying the driver, so we felt obligated, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, to tell “the rest of the story.” Here it is:
Colorado State Patrol statement: “The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat driver, 34-year-old Lance Utley of Winter Park, CO, was traveling northbound on Riverdale Rd. The driver lost control to the right, then overcorrected and lost control to the left, and struck a tree head on. There were two additional occupants in the vehicle. The driver was charged with careless driving. Drugs or alcohol were not involved. There was no mention of excessive speeding. All three occupants were unhurt.”
To date, Utley has not commented to the media about his mishap. Really, Lance, we do feel bad for you.
UPDATE 2 (Dec. 22): According to TFLCar.com, the crash occurred in Brighton, Colorado, a town of about 35,000, near the South Platte River in Adams County, just northeast of Denver.
When MotorSportsTalk contacted the Brighton Police late Sunday afternoon, they had no details of the wreck.
The road, according to the TFLCar.com report, is a twisting and winding two-lane road in a semi-rural area that includes crests and dips. The speed limit is posted 40 mph. Police are investigating, but the weather and road conditions were reportedly clear at the time and it’s not known if speed was a factor or not.
Here’s part of TFLCar.com’s report: “The skid marks at the scene of the accident show that the driver was traveling north. As the car crested the blind hill, the road drops down to the right, and the Hellcat may have been in a slight drift. The road is very narrow, but in good condition, well marked, and with a posted 40 MPH speed limit sign. The car started to drift toward the right ditch after the speed limit sign. The driver tried to correct, but the resulting over-correction sent the car across the lane and into a large cottonwood (tree). Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic at this moment.”
To add insult to injury, the report claims the wrecked car was the FIRST such Challenger SRT Hellcat sold in Colorado. There has been no identification of who was driving the vehicle.
UPDATE 1 (Dec. 22): According to AutoEvolution.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association just released a report this past week on the crash-worthiness of the base model version of the Challenger (about $40,000 cheaper than the Hellcat, but built on the same platform). The result: a 4-star, top-of-the-line safety rating. We bet the Hellcat owner in question is sure glad about that now.
INITIAL STORY FOLLOWS:
You knew it was bound to happen, sooner or later.
We just didn’t think it would be THAT soon.
When Dodge announced the $60,000 Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat earlier this year – with 707 horsepower motors that make them the most powerful stock muscle cars on the streets of America today – it was almost inevitable what might happen when someone would push one to … and past … its limits.
Unfortunately, a motorist in Colorado found that lesson out the hard way, according to a great story on MotorAuthority.com.
The Challenger, which has a reported top speed of 204 mph, has only been in dealer showrooms for about a month.
This is where the story gets, as Arte Johnson used to say on the 1960s TV show “Laugh In,” “Veerrrryyyy interesting.”
So, apparently an unnamed individual walks into a dealer’s showroom, signs on the dotted line and drives off with a brand new, bright neon lime green Challenger Hellcat.
The proud new owner’s beautiful car lasted about an hour, according to MotorAuthority’s Viknesh Vijayenthiran, whose work we always enjoy.
Details about the identity of the owner or where exactly the crash occurred in the Mile-High state are sketchy.
But the above picture tells 1,000 words.
No, make that 10,000 words — and half of those are probably the owner cussing himself out.
From what MotorAuthority.com surmised, the driver lost control, “skidded off the road near a bend and crashed head-on into a tree.”
Thankfully, the report said, no one was seriously injured.
(Well, at least that proves how crash-worthy the new Hellcats are, right?)
The same can’t be said about the car, which is apparently a total loss. Like Humpty Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men – and probably the best mechanics and body shops in the biz – can’t put Humpty Hellcat back together again.
Considering a Hellcat has just about 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup ride (under NASCAR’s new horsepower reduction rules), it goes without saying that it’s powerful.
In fact, you need TWO keys to operate a Hellcat, either the Challenger or Charger version.
The first key is to allow you to use the first 500 horsepower in the motor.
The second key activates all 707 horses.
MotorAuthority.com said of the Hellcat’s power:
“We’ve driven the new Challenger SRT Hellcat and found that it delivers performance that will leave even those used to powerful cars awestruck, so this sad sight serves as an important reminder for buyers of such cars to always factor in their own skills and consider whether the cost of a performance driving course should be included in their price estimations.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
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