Robert Foley of Lehigh Acres, Florida, learned a valuable lesson. While Luke and Bo Duke made it look easy in The Dukes of Hazzard, escaping the law with spectacular jumps in your car is Hollywood magic, not a real-world solution.
The 35-year-old had just crashed into an abandoned truck in Lehigh Acres when he made the fateful decision to drive off. A later investigation showed that, “Based on the physical evidence it was apparent the Nissan Versa was travelling at such a great speed that it vaults/airborne and cleared the water canal/ditch in a fashion only to be described similar to what was depicted in The Dukes of Hazzard.”
While Foley may have cleared the canal and even apparently stuck the landing, he soon lost control and smashed into a parked truck. Foley ran and the police had to use a helicopter to search for him. He was found in a great deal of pain and reeking of alcohol. He was booked into the Lee County Jail, after a hospital visit.
What Foley didn’t evidently think about or know, was that the Dukes’ famous car, the General Lee, wasn’t just one car. Over the course of seven seasons, the General Lee had over 150 flights. While Bo and Luke made their escapes good each episode, the car, a 1969 Charger, didn’t fare so well. Warner Brothers averaged two cars per episode, or an estimated total of 300 cars. Those jumps took a lot of pre-planning as well—not something you do when you’re running from the cops, Mr. Foley.
For instance, the 82 feet long, 16 feet high jump in the show’s opening credits required several hundred pounds of cement be placed in the trunk because the car was too front heavy. The show did have the unwanted consequence of creating a shortage of Chargers. In fact, toward the end of the series, the show had to switch to AMC Ambassadors. They even went so far as to use miniatures to produce some of the jumps. In the end, only 17 General Lees were left abandoned on the lot after the show ended.
So if you think you might try emulating a popular TV show when running from the law, you might want to reconsider. Robert Foley probably is.