Woman drives US$300,000 Maserati GranTurismo into pond after checking WeChat messages

Driver says she was trying to avoid crashing into a truck, but insurance company says it won’t be paying out

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 2:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 5:27pm

A woman who drove a 2 million yuan (US$300,000) sports car into a pond in eastern China on Friday said she lost control of the high-powered vehicle after taking her eyes off the road to check her phone, local media reported.

The unnamed driver of the bright red Maserati GranTurismo was visiting Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, when she apparently misread the road and drove straight into the water, police officer Xu Jie said in a report by Jiangsu Television on Saturday.

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“There was a turn in the road, but the car overshot,” he said.

“When I arrived at the scene, the woman had just got out of the water. She was shaking because of the freezing cold, and a pool of water had formed at her feet,” Xu said.

In a separate report by Modern Express Daily on Saturday, the woman was quoted as saying that she was not from the area but was on a sightseeing trip and was unfamiliar with the roads.

Moments before the accident, she glanced down to check her WeChat messages and when she looked up again she saw a truck straight in front of her. She said she panicked and swerved to avoid a collision, only to find herself in the pond.

“The car was almost submerged, with just about 30 centimetres left above the surface,” Xu said. “The engine was still running, and the windscreen wipers were swinging back and forth.”

The driver said she managed to escape from the vehicle by climbing out of the side window with the help of a group of bystanders.

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It was not specified if she was the owner of the luxury coupe, but the television report said the company that insured the two-year-old vehicle had written it off due to the damage caused and would not be paying out on the policy.

In mainland China, Maserati GranTurismos cost about 2.2 million yuan. A crane was used to pull the car from the water, but the reports did not say what the woman planned to do next.

To add insult to injury, she was fined 50 yuan for the offence of using a mobile phone while driving.