Cars, DealBreaker, Lawsuit of the Day

Legal Defense of the Day: New Car Smell Diminishes Your Capacity to Have A Soul

You know the only thing worse than getting run over by some rich joker in a Mercedes-Benz? Getting run over by a rich joker in a Mercedes-Benz who gets a slap on the wrist because his Mercedes-Benz is a brand-new Mercedes-Benz.

Dr. Steven Milo knows that pain all too well. Our sister site, Dealbreaker, explains the situation:

Back in November, it was reported that last summer, Morgan Stanley financial adviser Martin Joel Erzinger… had driven over a doctor who was on his bike and then kept going, “until he reached a Pizza Hut parking lot, where he stopped and called Mercedes auto assistance to report the damage to his vehicle.”…

The part of the story that was somewhat more shocking was that rather than be slapped with serious to quite serious charges, a court decided that for his crime, MJE would be hit with two misdemeanor traffic violations and restitution to the victim. People were somewhat outraged, to say the least. But! That was prior to hearing all of Marty’s side of the story.

According to Erzinger’s defense lawyers, Erzinger suffers from sleep apnea, and that condition was exacerbated by the new car smell of his month-old Mercedes. And that all caused him to lose consciousness during the hit-and-run fiasco.

I knew having a new Mercedes was a status symbol; I didn’t know it was a designer drug…

The new car smell allegedly contributed to Erzinger falling asleep before he hit Dr. Milo. The Vail Daily reports:

Erzinger’s attorneys say their client suffers from sleep apnea and fell asleep at the wheel before driving off U.S. Highway 6 and onto the shoulder near Miller Ranch Road, hitting Milo from behind.

An accident reconstructionist says new-car smell may have contributed to the accident.

John Koziol of Koziol Forensic investigated the accident, according to court documents…

“Harmful and noxious gases emitted from the upholstery can infiltrate the driver’s compartment and potentially alter the driver,” Koziol wrote.

Make no mistake, that awesome feeling you get when you are in a new car is not just the psychological excitement of purchasing a new vehicle. There’s also some chemistry going on, as Treehugger explains:

New car smell could contain up to 35 times the health limit set for volatile organic chemicals in cars in Japan, making its enjoyment akin to glue-sniffing. The chemicals found included ethyl benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene used in paints and adhesives.

It sounds vaguely similar to the addictive chemical the Colonel puts in his chicken to make you crave it fortnightly. So I buy all of this.

Except for the part where the guy drives to the Pizza Hut and calls his auto mechanic before checking on the victim he just left in agonizing pain on the side of the road! Did new car smell make him do that too? No, it was probably smell of fear for his own precious Morgan Stanley career that inspired him to leave Dr. Milo lying in a ditch while he quickly scanned his Merc for evidence of the disaster.

Chemicals and sleeping disorders can mess with a man’s motor skills and even his brain. But it is Martin Joel Erzinger’s soul that was criminally absent that night. I hope his Merc was unscathed, because petty status symbols are really all this jackass has left.

P.S. But if you do want to treat yourself to a petty status symbol, let it be a Mercedes — an ATL advertiser.

Morgan Stanley Guy Who Committed Hit And Run Provides Pretty Legit Excuse For Faux Pas [Dealbreaker]
‘New-car smell’ cited in Edwards hit-and-run case [Vail Daily]
“New Car Smell” May Have Caused Hit-and-Run On Cyclist in Vail [Treehugger]

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