Fri 5 Mar 2010
A sportscar went out of control on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road immediately east of Highway 1 about 2:30 p.m. today, sailed off the roadway, and landed on its wheels 25 feet down an embankment.
The white Porsche GT-3, which landed facing back toward the road, was airborne for roughly 50 feet, as evidenced by bare spots where bark had been knocked off limbs high above the ground.
From skid marks on the pavement, it appears the driver lost control in rounding the first curve east of Point Reyes Station. He then over-corrected and ended up in the oncoming lane before spinning back across the road and off the embankment.
The driver, who declined to give me his name or hometown, was not injured in the wreck. (Monday morning update: the CHP has now identified the driver as Joshua Moore, 38, of San Rafael.)
Traveling with the Porsche when the wreck occurred was a red Ferrari, but its driver told me he didn’t know what caused the mishap. (The CHP on Monday said the accident was caused by an “unsafe turning movement” but that Moore had not been cited.)
The property on which the Porsche landed is used by Tomales Bay Oyster Company, and its workers managed to turn the car around by sliding it on the muddy ground.
The driver was able to start his car only to have its wheels spin in the mud. The oyster workers then pushed the car to open ground, from which it could be towed.
A highway patrolman checks the car while the driver stashes its broken spoiler behind the seats.
Because the driver declined to identify himself (and because it took three days to get the information from authorities), all I initially knew about him is what’s on his license plate frame: “Member 11-99 Foundation.”
The name “11-99” is taken from a radio-code message that means: “Officer needs assistance. Send location to all units.” The foundation, according to its charter, “provides emergency, death, and scholarship benefits to California Highway Patrol family members.”
However, the “member” license-plate frames have occasionally come under fire as potentially having a corrupting effect. Critics in past years claimed that people who liked to drive fast made large donations in order to get the frames, a membership certificate, and a special wallet with a 11-99 Foundation badge to show any CHP officer who pulled them over.
The 11-99 Foundation directors voted to phase out the frames last year and to more aggressively prevent people from selling them online. The directors also instructed staff to “develop a program to address the status of all ‘Member’ license-plate frames currently in circulation.”
The foundation on its website says it needs to maintain control over the frames because “we don’t want the 11-99 Foundation to continue to suffer because some misguided individual tried to take advantage of the license-plate frames, hoping they would inappropriately influence a law enforcement officer.”