Pelican Causes a $1 Million Bugatti Veyron Crash; Driver Goes to Jail

The pesky pelican in this story took all of the blame! Andy House was leisurely driving his 2006 Bugatti Veyron back in 2009 when suddenly, a pelican caused him to take a dip in the lake. Does this supercar story ring a bell?

The non-amphibious 2006 Bugatti Veyron

2006 Bugatti Veyron in water
The 2006 Bugatti Veyron crashed by a pelican | Chris Paschenko/The Galveston County Daily News

Andy House purchased this 2006 Bugatti Veyron back in October 2009 when he gathered up inventory for his personal salvage yard. This wasn’t an unusual situation for House, as he regularly bought wrecked exotics cars to resell. However, this was a new one for him.

According to local news station KTRE, House was driving the Bugatti that he paid $1 million for when he claims a “low flying pelican” came out of nowhere and caused him to crash into a lake. Fortunately for him, he insured the 2006 Bugatti Veyron for $2 million before taking it out for a spin. House drove into the Gulf Bay near La Marque, Texas, and the rest was history. Or so he thought.

Unfortunately for House, but fortunately for the reputation of pelicans, there were first-hand accounts of what actually happened that day. Unbeknownst to him, someone was filming that 2006 Bugatti Veyron that day, probably because it was an exotic thing to see in La Marque, Texas.

The pelican vs. 2006 Bugatti Veyron

So while one person was filming this Bugatti Veyron driving casually into a lake, House set himself up for quite the payout. Once he drove into the lake, House left the motor running. This obviously caused catastrophic failure within the engine as it took on a lake full of saltwater.

When first responders arrived, House claimed he was reaching for his phone when he swerved and went into the lake. The crash took place on November 11, 2009. On November 12, House called and filed a claim on the amphibious Bugatti Veyron for $2.2 million. At the time, he still did not know someone had recorded his dip.

If you watch the video above, it seems pretty clear there is no low-flying pelican around. It also doesn’t look like he was reaching for anything. It appears House just decided the lake was his final destination. Apparently, the insurance company agreed with that decision.

That did not go as planned

As reported by Jalopnik, by the time November 2011 rolled around, Philadelphia Insurance decided to sue House for insurance fraud over the 2006 Bugatti Veyron. “It’s unusual that you have video of a car crash. It’s wonderful that a jury will be able to actually look at the sequence of events,” David Miller, attorney for Philadelphia Insurance, said.

According to the suit, someone named Lloyd Gillespie loaned House $1,050,000 for the 2006 Bugatti Veyron. Philadelphia Insurance claims that House crashed the car on purpose to recoup some cash. The video shows no evidence of a pesky pelican, and House managed to leave the Veyron running for 15 minutes while it was in the water. He claimed mosquitos were attacking him. The video shows no attempt at braking, stopping, or pelican-avoiding.

Philadelphia Insurance claimed that the Bugatti insured as a collector’s item was actually being used for personal errands in obtained court documents. House took the car to supercar rallies and offered friends joy rides, racking up over 2,000 miles on dealer plates before the pelican problems.

Eventually, House was sentenced to 12 months and a day in federal prison back in 2015. He had to pay back the $600,000 insurance settlement and was subject to an extra three years of supervised release after he got out. The pelican was released of any liability as he was not able to be found.

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