A Swedish businessman and ex-convict charged in the infamous crash of a million-dollar Ferrari in Malibu pleaded no contest Thursday to drunk driving.
Bo Stefan Eriksson, 44, agreed to the plea deal to clear the way for his trial next week on grand theft, embezzlement and firearms possession charges, his lawyers said.
"We want to fight the battle where the battle is. It makes no sense to chase windmills and waste the jury's time and the court's time," said attorney James Parkman.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg will sentence Eriksson for the drunk driving offense at the conclusion of his trial.
Eriksson is accused of illegally bringing a second Ferrari and a Mercedes into the U.S. without authorization of the British banks that held the titles.
Eriksson allegedly crashed a red 2003 Ferrari Enzo into a utility pole on Pacific Coast Highway on Feb. 21. Authorities said the car, reportedly worth $1 million, was going 162 mph when it crashed.
The exotic car, glamorous setting and white-knuckle speed of the crash made for a sensational news story both in California and Europe. Then even more intriguing details emerged.
The video game executive told police at the scene that a man named Dietrich had been behind the wheel. Eriksson said Dietrich ran away before authorities arrived.
Eriksson also said he was deputy commissioner of the police department of the San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority, a tiny private agency that provides rides to the disabled and elderly.
A few minutes after the crash, two men arrived, identified themselves as Homeland Security officials and spoke to Eriksson at length before leaving.
Eriksson has nine criminal convictions in Sweden for forgery, counterfeiting, narcotics and firearms offenses. Because of his criminal record, Eriksson cannot legally possess a gun in this country. He faces a weapons charge for a handgun that police found at his Bel-Air house.