An unauthorized driver has killed a cast-signed piece of automotive history.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon, drivers along Historic Highway 165 in Missouri witnessed what could have been an outtake from the Dukes of Hazzard when a "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger car crashed on the road. As reported by Springfield News Leader, the iconic car, made famous by the popular TV show, was involved in a single-vehicle accident that left two people injured.
Initially, the Western Taney County Fire Protection District identified the car on social media as one that had been used in the show. However, the car's owner later clarified that it had not been used in the actual filming. Nevertheless, all of the show's cast members had driven and signed the car at some point, making it a valuable and rare piece of television history.
When they arrived at the scene, the Hollister Police Department, Taney County Ambulance District, and Western Taney County Fire Protection District all began investigating the crash. According to Hollister Police Chief Preston Schmidt, the driver of the vehicle was traveling too fast for the road conditions and lost control of the car. No citations have been issued at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.
Two people in the car were evaluated and transported to area hospitals with moderate injuries. The driver was treated for a broken collarbone, while the passenger "reported leg and rib pain." Both have since been released and are recovering.
The Western Taney County Fire Protection District was told by the car's owner that the person driving was not authorized to do so. It remains unclear how the driver came to be behind the wheel of the valuable car.
It's worth noting that a "General Lee" car is a rare find, as most of the vehicles used in the show were destroyed during stunts. Only a handful of cars survived filming. But, in 1991, Warner Brothers sold 17 to private owners, making them highly sought after by collectors and fans of the show alike. It has become one of the most influential cars in pop culture, even though the later movie stank.
In a Facebook update, the fire department says, "The owner and the owner's special needs son are devastated about the damage to the vehicle."
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