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Single Crash in Japan Destroys at Least $1 Million

Single Crash in Japan Destroys at Least $1 Million Worth of High-End Vehicles

In a country still reeling from March's earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people, caused more than $300 billion in damage and sent the global auto industry stumbling, a 14-vehicle crash in Japan on Sunday that law enforcement called a "gathering of narcissists" left damages exceeding $1 million.

Though the crash involved no fatalities, it did involve eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and three high-end Mercedes-Benz models, reports from Bloomberg and Yahoo Autos indicated police said. Ten apparently received minor injuries from the crash.

Yahoo Autos reported so many Ferraris ended up on the road together because the drivers were heading for a gathering in Hiroshima, where about 100 other vehicle owners were expected to show.

Yahoo reached an individual who was invited along but passed. That person noted it was unusual for such a cluster of high-end sports car owners to take an expressway — where speeds are closely monitored, and traffic can be thicker due to lower tolls on Sundays.

Even so, law enforcement estimated the Ferraris were traveling between 80 and 100 mph when the crash happened.

Bloomberg's report explained the episode started when one Ferrari driver attempted to pass a Toyota Prius at 10:16 a.m. local time on the rain-soaked Chugoku Expressway in Yamaguchi Prefecture at the Western tip of Japan's main island of Honshu.

Bloomberg noted the person suspected of causing the accident, a 60-year-old self-employed man from Fukuoka prefecture, may face up to three months in jail or a fine of as much as 100,000 yen or $1,280, according to Mitsuyoshi Isejima, executive officer for Yamaguchi Prefecture's Expressway Traffic Police unit.

"The accident occurred when the driver of a red Ferrari was switching from the right lane to the left and skidded," Isejima explained to Bloomberg "It was a gathering of narcissists."

Isejima added it took longer than six hours to clear the highway of wreckage.

Bloomberg's report also stated TV footage showed a Ferrari that had plowed into the outer guard rail while another one had its engine bonnet almost ripped off.

Police and video reports revealed the wreck began when the driver of a Ferrari F430 attempted to pass the Prius but instead hit the guardrail. That set off a chain reaction among the vehicles driving in a tight formation behind the lead Ferrari, eventually wrapping up seven other Ferraris — namely a 360 Modena, F355 and a white Testarossa — along with a Lamborghini Diablo and a couple of high-end Mercedes-Benz units.

Yahoo Autos noted the Prius sustained some rear bumper damage but escaped relatively unharmed.

Bloomberg tabulated that Ferrari SpA, a unit of Fiat SpA, sold 493 units in Japan last year, down from 548 in 2009. The wire service arrived at those figures from the Japan Automobile Importers Association's website.

All eight Ferraris involved in the accident were registered in Kyushu, law enforcement told Bloomberg.