Dinosaur replicas mowed down in Southampton crash
A virtual Jurassic Park of statues in Southampton Town was brought to near extinction Tuesday when a car left the roadway and smashed through more than a dozen dinosaur creations, leaving just one, the biggest dinosaur, intact.
Christopher Spano, 31, of Manorville, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, Southampton police said, and issued a ticket to appear July 17 in Southampton Town Court.
Spano said later in a telephone interview that he was not under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, but had a problem with his front tires and might not have been at his best due to lack of sleep.
Sgt. Michael Burns said that about 12:31 p.m., Southampton Town police began getting calls concerning a compact blue sedan traveling erratically east, first on Sunrise Highway and then on County Road 39.
By the time police arrived, the car had already struck on the grounds of Yesterday's Treasures, a store that sells statues. "It's kind of a landmark," Burns said. "Life-size dinosaurs, Superman, elephants, cows."
Larry Schaeffer, the owner of the business, said no one was hit by the car, and the dinosaur display took the brunt of the damage. "The guy drove his car right through the center of the herd," Schaeffer said.
The statues, which included replicas of raptors, brachiosaurus and allosaurus, suffered about $40,000 worth of damage.
Schaeffer said he never suspected this might happen. "They were all cabled together. . . . They supported each other. They supported each other through windstorms, and whatever. Right through Sandy, we didn't lose one dinosaur . . . but we never would have counted on a car going through."
The only dinosaur untouched was a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-tall T-Rex, Schaeffer said.
The car finally came to a stop right in front of a pink elephant. "You can say he missed a pink elephant that's as big as an elephant," Schaeffer said.