Image: Bugatti
Chris Paschenko  /  AP
Gilbert Harrison, with MCH Towing, attaches a towing cable to a Bugatti Veyron that was driven into the water near Omega Bay in La Marque, Texas.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/13/2009 8:09:33 AM ET 2009-11-13T13:09:33

A man blamed a low-flying pelican and a dropped cell phone for his veering his million-dollar sports car off a road and into a salt marsh near Galveston.

The accident happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday on the frontage road of Interstate 45 northbound in La Marque, about 35 miles southeast of Houston.

The Lufkin, Texas, man told of driving his luxury, French-built Bugatti Veyron when the bird distracted him, said La Marque police Lt. Greg Gilchrist.

The motorist dropped his cell phone, reached to pick it up and veered off the road and into the salt marsh. The car was half-submerged in the brine about 20 feet from the road when police arrived.

Gilchrist said he doesn't know if the car was salvageable, but in his words, "Salt water isn't good for anything." He says the man, whose identity hasn't been released, was not injured.

Celebrity driver
The police declined to release the driver's name, although the incident has drawn a great deal of attention on his vehicle.

The Houston Chronicle reported the Texan has become something of a celebrity. He reportedly told the Texas City wrecker driver who towed his car that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called him Wednesday, along with several other celebrities.

“He said he was getting so many calls that he finally stopped answering his phone,” said wrecker driver Gilbert Harrison of MCH Truck and Auto, which is storing the car.

But Harrison said the driver seemed to take his very expensive mistake in stride.

“He was calm,” Harrison told the Chronicle. “If it had been me, I'd have been cussing, but he was calm. I imagine inside he was probably pretty upset.”

The Bugatti Veyron is the fastest and most expensive production car in the world.

A 2006 Bugatti Veyron was recently offered for sale in Jonesboro, Ark., for $1.25 million.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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