NASCAR Toyota star charged with hit-and-run UPDATE #4 Photos of Waltrip's wrecked car. He is lucky he's not dead. The witness who discovered Michael Waltrip's overturned car initially thought no one survived the accident until the NASCAR driver wiggled out the back window.
The witness, an 18-year-old college student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, requested anonymity during a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press for fear of reprisal from Waltrip's fan base.
But she said she lives near the two-time Daytona 500 winner in Sherrills Ford, and stumbled upon the accident when she was returning home around 2 a.m. ET Saturday. She saw an overturned Toyota Land Cruiser in a ditch and rushed over to check on the occupants. She didn't see anyone in the car and no one answered her shouts, so she called 911 for help.
"After I got off the phone I was walking around the car again and somebody stuck their foot out the back driver side of the window," she said. "That's when Michael Waltrip got out. He wiggled out the back window. I knew immediately it was him. He just got out the back driver side window and stood up."
The witness said she asked Waltrip how long he'd been in the car and he told her about 10 minutes. He was bleeding from his forehead and had some cuts on his fingers and arms," she said. "I told him 'You are really lucky you are alive. I didn't think anybody was alive in there.' We sort of talked for a minute or two, and I told him 911 was on the way, and he just turned around and started walking home.
"I didn't know what to say or what to do. He had a T-shirt and sweat pants and socks on, he might have taken his shoes off in the car, but I wasn't sure. And he just turned around and started walking home in his socks." More from AP article
[Editor's Note: OK, now we know Waltrip was lying and was probably drunk as a skunk. The woman told him 911 was on the way and then he must of said to himself, 'I had better get the heck out of here now' and fled the scene. And who drives a car with no shoes on and then walks a mile home in his socks?]
04/11/07 “I got out and someone had pulled up and said she would call 911,” said Waltrip, who said he was on his way home from Charlotte when the wreck occurred. “I said that I was fine, and I just decided to go home and then figure out what to do.”
The crash was reported, however, and trooper B.L. Buchanan arrived at the scene shortly before 2 a.m. Buchanan said the witness recognized Waltrip. Buchanan knew Waltrip lived nearby and went to Waltrip’s home around 2:30 but got no response at the door. He went back to the wreck, had the vehicle towed and went off duty at 5 a.m.
Waltrip said he went to the pool house to take a shower after the wreck. [Editor's Note: Why would he do that? Maybe he was inside and so drunk he never heard the bell or chose to not answer it] and didn’t know the trooper had come to the house that night. Waltrip’s wife, Buffy, in Charleston for the weekend, was called about the incident and called Waltrip Saturday morning to tell him he needed to contact Buchanan when the trooper came back on duty at 8 p.m.
Buchanan said he was unable to make any determination about whether alcohol was involved because of the lapse of time between the wreck and when he talked to Waltrip. “That’s why the law requires you to remain there at the scene,” he said.
But Waltrip insists that he did not go home to avoid being tested for intoxication. “Alcohol was not a factor at all in my accident,” he said. “I didn’t go home to avoid anything. I just went there trying to figure out what to do.” Charlotte Observer [Editor's Note: And if you believe that story we have a bridge we would like to sell you.] 04/10/07 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Sounds to me like Waltrip was drunk as a skunk. He left the scene to get some sleep and get his blood alcohol level down before talking to the police. How much longer is Toyota going to put up with this cheating clown? Arthur Rosenberg, Newark
04/10/07 Michael Waltrip is charged with reckless driving and failure to report an accident after a crash on Molly's Backbone Road in Catawba County. The Highway Patrol says Waltrip was driving about 70 miles per hour in the 55 mile-per-hour zone when he went off the right side of the road in a curve around 1:50 a.m. Saturday. His car then traveled back across the pavement and off the left side of the roadway, sliding sideways and striking a utility pole as it overturned. The car then rolled over and came to a rest on its side. Troopers said a witness saw Waltrip crawl out of the vehicle and leave the scene. When a trooper went to his home around 2:30 a.m. no one was there, but when he went back at 8 p.m. he found Waltrip, who admitted he'd fallen asleep at the wheel. Waltrip, with scratches on his face and some deep cuts on his finger, spoke with Eyewitness News about the crash. He said he was on his way home to Sherill's Ford from Charlotte. "I was almost home. I relaxed a little bit and ran off the road," he explained. "I woke up with gravel hitting the car and I tried to correct but it was too late. The seasoned driver says he instinctively got out of his car, and then decided to walk home because he often runs the route and was only a mile away. Waltrip will be in court in Newton on May 14. WSOCTV.com
04/10/07 Michael Waltrip has been charged with reckless driving and hit-and-run after hitting a telephone pole and rolling his car about a mile away from his home over the weekend.
Waltrip, who suffered scratches to his face and cuts on his finger, said he fell asleep at the wheel when he wrecked early Saturday morning.
"I am really embarrassed about the accident, but I feel fortunate that I wasn't hurt," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said Tuesday.
"For 25 years I have had a great driving record. I consider myself to be a courteous and safe driver on public roads. I never expected to fall asleep behind the wheel of a car."
Police said the accident happened shortly before 2 a.m. when Waltrip lost control of his car while driving around a curve, overcorrected and his car rolled and hit a utility pole, said Sgt. Brian Sharpe of the State Highway Patrol in Catawba County.
The vehicle, which was on its side, was abandoned and there was blood in it when police arrived. Witnesses reported seeing the driver crawl from the car and leave.
"He left the scene," Sharpe said. "We got the plate number, realized it was him and tried to locate him."
An attempt to locate him that morning was unsuccessful, but police reached him the next day. Waltrip was not arrested, but has been charged with careless and reckless driving, as well as hit and run.
Waltrip is having a horrendous first season as a car owner/driver.
He was caught cheating during Daytona 500 preparations when NASCAR found a fuel additive in his engine, and was docked 100 driver points. His crew chief was fined a record $100,000 and suspended indefinitely, as was his competition director. FoxSports