The holiday season may be a festive one, but one guy was clearly partying a bit too hard in Columbia, South Carolina this week. The inebriated man reportedly drove his car directly into a stationary AH-1F Cobra attack helicopter on display in support of a veterans charity run by the Celebrate Freedom Foundation. The incident first hit the internet a few days ago when the South Carolina Highway Patrol uploaded a short video of the Cobra after the crash.
Sober or slammer! The driver who wrecked into this helicopter was arrested for DUI! This holiday season, drink responsibly!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/8oDbGpmN01
— Trooper David SCHP (@SCHP_Troop1) December 19, 2019
“This holiday period, if you’re going to go out to a holiday party or visit friends and family, make sure you have a plan in place if you plan to consume alcohol,” the narrator says in the clip. “Don’t have us knocking on any more doors, for heavens sake, and don’t be like this guy.”
According to reports, the crash may have caused upward of “a half a million dollars” worth of damage, though the charity itself has maintained a rather positive outlook on the whole thing. Lori Wicker, the director of Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s educational program, uploaded another video of the crashed Cobra to Facebook to use it as a teaching tool, urging people not to drink and drive — and as a logical extension of that, encouraging people not to get drunk or drink into their helicopter anymore.
The helicopter itself, which they refer to as “Annie,” is often used as a part of the charity’s STEAM education program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which is aimed primarily at kids in grades K-12. It’s not clear if the endeavor to fix Annie’s damage will find its way into the lesson plan.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work from our veterans and our volunteers and it’s going to take a lot of resources to put this aircraft back into the condition where I can get her back out there doing her job,” said Stephen Seymour, executive director of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation.
Thomas Andrew Anderson, 37, of Harrisburg, North Carolina was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence. According to the arresting officer, Anderson claimed that he thought he was on the expressway by the airport, despite being in an enclosed parking area. He also allegedly told police that he had drank “way too much” alcohol. There were no injuries reported.
“She did five years in Vietnam. She did the Persian Gulf war and she got taken out by a drunk driver.”