We’ve all done things we shouldn’t have done after one too many beers, and woken up with regrets to haunt us and cautionary stories to tell. Perhaps it’s a text you shouldn’t have sent, or an impulse purchase that left a black mark on your bank account, or the clumsy destruction of something valuable.
But some people have stories much worse than others – stories that are either hilarious or horrifying to read about, or perhaps reassuring that our own mistakes weren’t that bad after all. These are the kinds of alcohol-induced moments of ineptitude that land a person with a shockingly high bill to pay.
And so read on for fifteen such stories, about the destruction of insanely expensive cars, the man who woke up to find he’d bought a plane ticket across the world, an impulse purchase so reckless it affected global markets, and much more.
15. Launching a $385, 000 Ferrari Off A Cliff
“So, what happens when you try to make your limited production, $385,000 2015 Ferrari fly?” asked the fire department of Austin, Texas on their Facebook page earlier this month, before answering their own question: “Nothing good.”
After three young men had a few too many drinks, one of them made the unfortunate decision to take his mates for a spin in his Ferrari 458 Italia. After zooming along at over 100mph on a dark and winding road, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the driver lost control. What is perhaps more surprising is that he did so right next to a fifty-foot ravine, sending the car flying.
But the biggest surprise of all – and the one they can be thankful for – is that the three men survived with only minor injuries. The only lasting damage done was to their dignity, the car, and the driver’s insurance premiums.
14. Drunk Man Attempts Selfie, Destroys Statue of Lenin
Snapping yourself with your idols may be all the rage, but when one man in the Russian city of Prokopyevsk got drunk and tried to get a selfie with a statue of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, he ended up with a hefty capitalist bill to pay.
To line up the perfect shot, the inebriated thirty-year-old attempted to climb the plaster statue and hang from its outstretched arm. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to support his weight and came crashing to the ground. The man then attempted to piece the statue back together, but eventually cut his losses and legged it.
Police managed to find the man via fingerprints left not only on the statue but also on a nearby beer bottle, and he was fined 20,000 rubles – the equivalent of $350. We’ve all been in drunken selfies we’d rather forget, but this one is particularly regrettable.
13. $100,000 Of Sacred Artifacts Smashed
Some people get angry when drunk, but this man seemed hell-bent on destruction. When people living near a church in New York’s East Village heard loud crashes coming from inside, they called 911, and the police entered to find lapsed Catholic Michael Torres drunk, agitated, and surrounded by a shocking amount of damage.
Torres had somehow yanked the church’s door so hard that he bent its frame, allowing himself in. He then ripped 14 hand-carved wooden statues off the wall and smashed them to pieces, destroyed a century-old Mary Help of Christians statue, and stamped on the priests’ vestments. All in all, the damage done to the church totaled over $100,000.
It turned out that the man had attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the same church earlier that day – obviously he wasn’t in a well state of mind and, while we hope he managed to recover, those valuable artifacts never did.
12. Drunk Morons Kill Endangered Fish, Face $50,000 Charges
Death Valley National Park in Nevada is home to the habitat of one of the rarest fish species in the world, but the three drunken men who broke in last year didn’t care about that.
Steven Schwinkendorf, 29, Edgar Reyes, 35, and Trenton Sargent, 26, broke into a fenced-off area of the park by firing a gun (another thing you shouldn’t have when drunk) at gate locks. They then went for a swim in the waters inhabited by the Devils Hole pupfish, leaving behind beer cans, vomit, and even a pair of dirty underwear.
When the scene of the crime was found, one of the fish – of which there are only around 115 in the world – had been killed, and damage had been done to their critical ecosystem, including food sources and egg sites. The men faced fines of up to $50,000 and a year in prison, and we can only hope the habitat was able to be repaired.
11. Woman Hijacks Ferry, Damages $88,000 Catamaran
Piracy on the high seas is no thing of the past – at least, not in the mind of 51-year-old Alison Whelan from Devon, England. In 2012, after a heavy night on drink and drugs, Whelan commandeered a 100-seater passenger ferry.
Whelan and her friend clambered aboard the vessel, at which point the woman called paramedics, apparently feeling unwell. But by the time the ambulance arrived, she’d unhooked the ropes keeping the boat moored, and it had started drifting off in a manner witnesses described as “like a pinball machine”, bumping into a £70,000 ($88,000) catamaran and another moored boat.
The drunk woman seemed to revel in this adventure, calling out “I’m a pirate! I’m Jack Sparrow!”, but it didn’t last long, as the boat came to a stop a mile upstream. With the combined costs of the damage done and all the people called out to recover the boat, it really is a shame this pirate didn’t find any treasure.
10. Trader Drunkenly Buys 7 Million Barrels Of Oil
Not many drunken mistakes have quite as far-reaching consequences as that of Stephen Perkins, whose drunken purchase caused the global price of oil to reach an eight-month high.
After a weekend away filled with heavy drinking, the broker returned to London – and carried on drinking. His job with oil trading firm PVM required him to make big purchases on behalf of his company’s clients, but never using the company’s own money. However, the alcohol seemed to make Perkins forget this fact, and overnight he spent $520 million of the company’s money on exactly 7 million barrels of oil.
In the morning, global oil prices had risen by $1.50 a barrel. A sobering Perkins called in sick and began a desperate attempt to cover up the evidence of what he’d done. This obviously didn’t work, and when the company figured out what had happened, they tried to unwind the purchases themselves, but were left with a loss of over $9.7 million.
9. One Drunken Punch Destroys An Elevator
A night on the town may not have gone entirely as hoped for a man surnamed Wang from Chongqing, China, as he was heading up to his 22nd floor apartment when he decided to punch the door of the ascending elevator. But it seems like Wang, perhaps due to the alcohol in his system, misjudged his own strength.
The young man’s punch not only shunted the elevator door out of place, but also frazzled the control panel and brought down part of the ceiling. Oh, and it reversed the trajectory of the entire elevator, causing it to crash to the floor, trapping Wang and his two friends inside for 20 minutes.
For this startling display of Hulk-like destruction, Wang was left with a charge of 5,000 yuan – that’s about $820 – and a lot of questions about who designed the elevator in the first place – maybe they were even more drunk!
8. Climbing An $8200 Christmas Tree – Disastrously
When teens get drunk together, it’s all too easy for them to start showing off. And it’s all too easy for that to end badly. This was the case for 19-year-old Isaac Hartley-Simpson from Stanthorpe, Australia, who decided to impress his buddies by climbing the town’s $11,000 ($8,200 in USD) Christmas tree.
Hartley-Simpson’s weight led to the tree’s upper half collapsing, leaving the festive decoration looking somewhat pathetic. Council workers tried to enact repairs, but soon concluded that it had been “completely destroyed”.
The young man publicly apologized for his drunken behaviour, but it can’t have made up for the damage done to his popularity in Stanthorpe, since the town was left without a Christmas tree that year. At least the Stanthorpe Information Centre turned the incident into a public service announcement, posting an image of the broken tree on Facebook along with a reminder to alternate alcohol with a glass of water.
7. Accidentally Leaving A $1000 Tip For A $60 Meal
When one waiter at the Thailicious restaurant in Denver, Colorado found that a customer had left a tip of $1,088 in the checkbook, it seemed too generous to be true, especially since the meal had only cost around $60. He brought the money to his manager, Bee Anantatho, who suggested that the restaurant should hold onto the money in case the customer came back.
And indeed, the customer did return the next day and sheepishly asked for his money back. Admitting that he’d been too drunk to know he what he was doing, the customer explained that he’d mixed up $100 bills for $1 ones – though he didn’t explain why he thought it’d be wise to carry so much cash with him if he was planning to get plastered.
This explanation must have been a letdown for the waiter, but the man did leave $100 anyway as thanks for the restaurant’s return of his money. That’s one drunk customer they probably won’t mind serving again.
6. The Impulse Trip From Scotland To Brazil
Many of us have woken up to find our bank accounts damaged by an ill-advised impulse purchase, including bank worker Jamie Ather from Glasgow, Scotland, who, after a night out clubbing, drunkenly splashed £520 ($654) on a plane ticket across the Atlantic to Brazil.
When he tried to get his money back, the airline refused to refund Ather, so there was only one thing to do – he packed his suitcase and went on a South American vacation. Despite never having travelled abroad on his own before, this turned out not to have been a bad decision, as he hung out with orphaned sloths, partied in Rio, and even went to neighboring Peru to climb Machu Picchu, boosting his own self-confidence along the way.
Really, we can all learn something from Ather’s story – whatever seemingly horrific mistakes you drunkenly make, roll with the punches and sometimes it might just lead to an actual life-changing experience.
5. Grand Theft Bulldozer Leaves Park Destroyed
At the end of a night out, most of us would get a taxi or bus home, but 30-year-old New Jersey resident Christopher Russell didn’t have the patience for that. Instead, he hopped into a nearby bulldozer and, finding the keys inside, decided the easiest way to get home was to commandeer it.
Due to a combination of alcohol in his system and not knowing how to drive a bulldozer, this did not end well. Before even making it out of the West Hudson park he found the dozer in, Russell flattened signs, benches, steel bollards, a drinking fountain, a tree, and more. And when he did get out of the park, he crashed it into a parked car.
Upon taking him into custody, police charged Russell with theft, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and criminal mischief. He was booked with bail set at $20,000 – frankly, an Uber would have been cheaper.
4. Flicking Through eBay, Ending Up With A $36,000 Bus
After a night of partying hard and drinking harder on the clubbing hotspot of Ibiza, English DJ Dave Little woke up to find he’d opened up the eBay app on his phone – and spent £28,500 (approximately $36,000) on a bus.
Little had no need for a bus, nor did he actually have a licence to drive one, but was now in a legally binding contract to be the new owner of a bright blue Scania Irizar Century Coach. It later turned out that his father had borrowed his phone to look up, entirely out of curiosity, how much one of them would cost.
This has got to be one of the costliest mistakes anyone has ever made on Ibiza. Little tried to contact eBay to see if he could get out of the buy, but had a backup plan, too – he posted about what he’d done on Facebook, ending “P.S. anybody want to buy a bus?”
3. Drunken Boat Trip Destroys Docks
Getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks is a terrible and dangerous thing to do, but this Clearwater, Florida resident discovered that boating while drunk isn’t so wise either.
One Thanksgiving evening, Robert Hart, 44, decided to take his boat for a spin, but with a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit, he ended up crashing it not only into other boats, but into the docks as well, ripping apart the wooden structures. “It almost sounded like gunfire, but it wasn’t. It was my dock in pieces,” said a witness, “I ran out here and he was pulling away after he drove right through the dock and just crumpled it like toothpicks.”
Hart left the scene of his crash, but was later caught and charged. Both he and the bystanders on the docks – including children who were fishing – were lucky not to get hurt, but the destructive trip left one seriously expensive mess to clean up.
2. Driver Forgets He Doesn’t Have A Garage, Destroys Own House
Driving under the influence is a terrible idea, but if you’ve made it home without an accident, you’ve got away with it, right? Well, no, as one 47-year-old man in the German town of Versmold discovered.
To be fair, he’d already been caught that night driving his friend’s car and had his license confiscated. After getting a taxi home, the man jumped into his own car – a Citroen Berlingo, which is a pretty hefty mini-SUV – and seemed to take his anger out on his house. As it was made of wood, the house was almost completely destroyed. Making the situation worse, he also managed to damage a propane tank, meaning several neighbouring houses had to be evacuated by the fire department.
It’s another example of alcohol-induced anger spiralling out of control and racketing up a sizeable bill, and another reason not to get behind the wheel drunk – even if only outside your own house.
1. Crashing A $3.4 Million Supercar
You’d think if you owned one of the world’s most expensive cars, you’d be careful what you did with it. That wasn’t the case for one 26-year-old Chinese man, known only as Mr. Liu, who took his 26.5 million yuan ($3.4 million) Koenigsegg Agera for a spin around the streets of Chongqing while under the influence of alcohol.
Liu lost control of the Swedish supercar and smashed it into a sidewalk barrier. After it did what witnesses described as a 250-degree spin, the damage to the car was evident – a wheel was knocked off, the front casing was in tatters, and the scratches around the side went way deeper than the surface.
It’s another case where we can be thankful no one was hurt, but the repair bill was in the millions and the driver was arrested for getting behind the wheel drunk. We suspect his ego was bruised, too.
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