Lawless Lamborghini ride means pike to prisonBy James Quiggle
January 13, 2014
Stashed in David Juntunen’s storage facility for the winter, the sterling silver Lamborghini Gallardo was a dream machine, a $200,000 eye-popper.
The feisty road stallion could roar up to nearly 200 mph, powered by an adrenal 520-horsepower, V-10 engine.
A client had stored the machine with Juntunen’s Minneapolis-based firm Top Gear Autoworks, which repairs and services exotic European vehicles.
Juntunen called himself “Superdave” had to give the Lamborghini a super joyride late one night. Small wonder. An online reviewer wrote: “This thing is so quick, so fast, so loud, and sounds so angry at full-throttle that it may scare kids, old people, pets, and livestock. But that's just part of its charm.”
Juntunen should’ve drank warm milk and gone to bed early. His adrenal road rampage smashed up the car and earned him a criminal insurance-fraud conviction.
He squeezed into the bucket seat. He’d enlisted employee Pamela Jean Dupont to join him for the avenue antics late one night.
Juntunen had no business driving the car. He was allowed to drive only vehicles with an ignition interlock. He’d been charged with 30 driving-related offenses, including 13 counts of driving after his license was revoked and 10 counts of driving while impaired.
His contract with the car’s owner, Minneapolis lawyer Jud Champlin, also was insistent: Juntunen could only pick up and drop off the car by towing it on a trailer. Champlin thus had suspended his collision insurance while storing the cherished Lamborghini for the winter.
Juntunen sped down the roadway. He was unfazed by the contractual irritant or that he’d breezily left Champlin unprotected in case of a crash. Which, of course, the fates quickly dealt Juntunen.
A police officer was making a DUI arrest and saw the Lamborghini zoom by around 1:45 a.m. A tow-truck driver onsite to remove the DUI offender’s car recorded a partial license-plate number.
The Lamborghini was more machine than Juntunen could handle. He lost control about 15 minutes later. It bolted from the road like a feisty colt from a corral. The vehicle took down three trees and two light poles, and dug up the turf in a Minneapolis park.
The Lamborghini also paid a steep price. A front wheel was torn off and panels crumpled.
Juntunen crept away under cover of night. He had one of his tow-truck drivers quietly haul the woebegone car to his main facility, and didn’t report the incident to police.
He filed a claim the next day with his commercial insurer Travelers Insurance. The battered Lamborghini needed nearly $82,500 in repairs, a claims adjuster determined.
“This thing is so quick, so fast, so loud, and sounds so angry at full-throttle that it may scare kids, old people, pets, and livestock. But that's just part of its charm.”Travelers began investigating and denied the claim. Juntunen’s excuses collided more than the desolate Lamborghini had. First he said was driving the car from the storage barn to his main facility. Then he shifted gears. His passenger Dupont was the driver and was moving the car to another facility, he lied. She swerved to avoid hitting an animal and careened out of control, he said.
With some discipline, Juntunen and Dupont stuck to that lie when further interviewed separately. Still, they bailed on an appointment to give Travelers formal statements under oath.
More evidence peeled away their storyline.
The crash also happened around 11 p.m., they lied. But the police officer and tow-truck driver who initially spotted the fast-moving car came back to haunt them at trial. They’d seen Juntunen behind the wheel, and around 1:45 a.m.
Juntunen even privately admitted to Champlin that the joyride was unauthorized.
The lies were in such shambles after the nine-month investigation that Juntunen pleaded guilty. He received six months in the county workhouse and three years of probation. He also must find the money to repay Champlin and Travelers $192,000 total.
The speed-soaked excursion doubly victimized Champlin: His car was ruined and his own insurer denied a repair claim because the drive was unauthorized. The park also sustained $10,000 in damage.
Juntunen says he’s trying to turn his life around and stay sober. Champlin is skeptical. “He's wasted so much time for so many people,” Champlin said. “I don't want him to be simply able to talk his way out of this.”
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