A couple in Tolland, Connecticut were heading home from a dinner in a Toyota MR2 Spyder when they passed through a street takeover on May 21. The crowd of supposed car enthusiasts ended up surrounding their mid-engined roadster and deliberately and maliciously destroying it as the couple, driver Stephanie and passenger Dennis Sargisian plead with them to stop.
By now you’ve probably seen the disturbing video. The Sargasians, who were not involved with the takeover, can do nothing but helplessly watch as members of the throng willfully jump on the convertible top, smash the mirrors, and kick in body panels and taillights. Stephanie Sargisian can be heard in the video trying to reason with the mob. “I just want to go home,” she says. A few participants stand down or encourage others to, but the car is pretty much totaled before the MR2 is allowed to pass.
Sargisian drove a few blocks away and called the police. Officers have since arrested Jefferson Duron, the alleged leader of the takeover after identifying his Mustang on another video. The 20-year-old Duron has been charged him with inciting to riot, riot, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and failure to display plates. He has since been released on a $30,000 bond.
Police reportedly did respond to the takeover, but said they “made a decision to stand down” according to a statement by Tolland Town Manager and former deputy police chief Brian Foley. The takeover reportedly also prevented an ambulance from passing through their blocked street; it had to turn around and go in a different direction.
Stephanie Sargisian told Eyewitness News 3 that the car had sentimental value to her. It had been given to her by her father. Under normal circumstances the approximately 20-year-old car would probably be totaled, but Stephanie’s daughter has started a Go Fund Me page to help repair the car. It has raised over $17,000 already.
Not that the destruction of any car would be acceptable, but the MR2 Spyder is clearly not just an average commuter. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that keeping a car like that for nearly two decades would require one to be at least somewhat of an enthusiast. Instead of just letting Sargisian go on her merry way they chose to block and demolish her beloved sports car.
Takeovers may be packed with people that like to conduct and to watch vehicular mayhem. They may even know more about performing stunts with cars and mechanical aspects of a car than an “ordinary” motorist like Sargisian. But they are not true enthusiasts. An true car enthusiast would never have done what they did to the MR2.