Bugatti's plunge into marsh subject of lawsuits


The sight of the million-dollar car hitting the water was shocking to say the least. The video viewed more than 2 and a half million times on YouTube seemed to be recorded only to document the rare 2006 Bugatti traveling northbound on the Gulf Freeway feeder road in La Marque. But it's a factor in the crash and now it's at the center of a lawsuit, one in which an insurance company claims -- to the driver -- the crash was not shocking at all.

"This video is their case," private investigator Tim Wilson said.

Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company is suing Andy House, the owner of the Bugatti, claiming fraud and that he intentionally drove the sports car into the marsh to destroy it and collect insurance money worth twice its value.

At the time, House told police he was reaching for his cell phone when he looked up and was distracted by a pelican. He veered off the feeder and landed in three feet of salt water.

"If there was a bird, he didn't veer from it," Wilson said.

Wilson has investigated insurance fraud cases and says clearly the video raises some credibility issues.

In the lawsuit, the insurance company lists off their claims. They say eyewitnesses saw no distraction, House left the Bugatti's engine running for 15 minutes after it was submerged causing unnecessary damage, a confidential informant says he was approached prior to the crash to steal the car and burn it and its $1.2 million insurance policy was increased to $2.2 million just weeks before this happened.

But House is counter-suing and wants the insurance company to pay up. His attorney, Russell Smith, maintains he was distracted and over the phone told us, "The ultimate evidence at trial will show this was just an accident and that the insurance company after the fact is looking at any and every way to justify not paying on the policy."

The Bugatti Veyron EB can reach speeds up to 250 miles per hour. It was totaled.

"Everybody's got videos," Wilson said.

And Wilson says with a video like this, an insurance company will stand its ground.

"They don't want to lose face, so they will spend whatever it takes to prove out their case so no one else tried to pull this same stunt," he said.

House is an exotic car dealer in Lufkin. The insurance company is also suing the man who loaned House the money to buy the Bugatti. His attorney denies the fraud allegations and says his client is just trying to recoup his loss.

A judge in Galveston last week declined to rule on the case without a trial so one is set for next summer.

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