I was offered cash to leave McLaren crash scene

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Swept under a dust cover: The crashed McLaren near Queenstown

The car in the ditch is worth stupid money.

So much money, in fact, you could sell it and afford to live in Eichardts’ new $10,000-a-night penthouse – for five years.

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It’s perhaps not surprising, then, those left to mind it are a tad, erm, overzealous.

An uppity young one rushes up as I arrive on the scene on Saturday afternoon, following reports a McLaren has crashed in Closeburn, near Queenstown.

“You can’t be here,” he says. “You can’t take photos.”

After I explain it’s a public road, he tells the firefighters to throw me off the road for safety reasons.

But they’re cool as long as I’m wearing a high-vis.

The McLaren F1, worth an estimated $20 million, is already covered by a dust cover. Criss-cross tyre marks mark the road.

Uppity’s associate tries a different tack.

He comes over: “I don’t want my photo in the paper”.

Then he says: “Can we just give you some cash to go away?”

I say: “That’s not going to work.”

He’s jovial enough, could even be joking, hard to tell.

But as freelance snapper James Allan says he was also offered cash, a large amount, he could quite feasibly have been serious too.

Wellington’s media police team say no charges have been laid and wouldn’t even say whether it’s an offence.

The driver, Aussie multi-millionaire Barry Fitzgerald, 63, had left the scene for medical treatment before I arrived.

He’s been charged with careless driving but was remanded without plea at court on Monday to be considered for diversion.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz