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Details on the Wrecked Dodge Challenger Hellcat

An image flooded the social media world this weekend showing a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat badly wrecked and while some people insisted that this was a hoax – it is unfortunately very real, as details on the accident have finally surfaced online.


This past weekend, the image above popped up across Facebook and Twitter, showing what appears to be a very badly wrecked 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Some commenters were skeptical, insisting that the image was somehow a fake, but it has been confirmed as the real deal via a Colorado State Police accident report.

The First Destroyed Hellcat Challenger
The first 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to meet its demise on the open road was owned by 34 year old Lance Utley of Winter Park, Colorado. Reports indicate that Utley had purchased his new 707 horsepower muscle car late on Friday afternoon, and it was the first Hellcat Challenger delivered in the state of Colorado. Shortly after Utley left the dealership in the most powerful muscle car ever sold in Colorado – the car was destroyed.

According to the Colorado State Police, Utley was driving along a rural two lane road with two passengers in his SRT Hellcat Challenger when he lost control of the car. The car originally headed to the right, and while Utley was able to correct the problem for a second, he overcorrected and shot back across the road. After sliding through the empty oncoming lane, the Challenger slammed into a tree and the result was the image above.

Fortunately, neither Utley nor his passengers were injured, but it looks like his Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat might be dead.

No Booze, No Excessive Speeds Needed
While the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was likely damaged beyond repairs, the important part was that no one in the car was injured. The police clarified that no drugs or alcohol were involved and reports point out that there was no mention of excessive speeds. Having driven a few Hellcat Challengers, I suspect that Utley wasn’t going very fast – he just got too far into the throttle on a 30 degree evening and the Challenger turned into a rolling burnout machine that hurdled head-long into the trees.

2015 Challenger Galleries:
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in TorRed
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in Sublime

When I last drove the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, I did so on clean, dry roads on an 80 degree day. The conditions couldn’t have been any better when I was driving the 707hp Challenger on the road or on the track. Even with those ideal conditions, a little too much throttle would get the back tires spinning in a hurry and when they get spinning, they want to bring the back end around just as quickly. Even when rolling along at 55 miles per hour on the highway, hammering the throttle will get the tires spinning in the 700+ horsepower mode. The Challenger has stability control and traction control systems that step in right away, but those features can easily be turned off for track-type performance.

If Utley had turned off any of the helpers and goosed the throttle a little too hard for the cold tires and cold road surface, I can see how the Challenger SRT Hellcat could get the back end out right away. From there, it was up to the driver to pull in the reins and when that didn’t happen – the Challenger slammed into a tree and mangled the brand new muscle car.

You don’t need to be drunk or driving at 120 miles per hour for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to get out of hand and hopefully, this first accident will serve as a stark reminder to owners who are taking delivery of their cars during this cold winter weather. Be careful out there, Hellcat drivers.

Source: TLF Car


BRANDON D (not verified)    December 22, 2014 - 2:25PM

All people need driving tests when they buy these cars. shown how to control the unstable tail swing you get when your on and off the gas. Use a stingray vette 454 to teach them. Most i would say 95% of buyers arent ready for that kind of power.

JeffS (not verified)    December 22, 2014 - 5:22PM

My guess is there will be many owners who do not have experience with anything close to this type of horsepower or torque. My understanding is that there is a valet nanny that reduces the HP to a more mortal 500. Maybe Dodge should put a lock on that for the first few thousand miles, (call it a break-in period for both car and driver) which would give all drivers a chance to get familiar with the car before dealing with the full wrath of the Monster HP within.

pammiewammiexoxo (not verified)    December 27, 2014 - 6:37AM

In reply to by JeffS (not verified)

It comes with two keys, first one is black for normal driving, and a red key which opens the horsepower and torque all the way. It's a lot of racecar and he knew that but, couldn't handle it! I give him an A+ for being a dumbass! there is a valet mode.

JeffS (not verified)    December 27, 2014 - 10:49AM

In reply to by pammiewammiexoxo (not verified)

Good day Pammie, that's probably what he is telling himself. Have no idea what kind of guy the driver is, but in this case, "Stupid is, as Stupid does".

Kelly (not verified)    January 14, 2015 - 6:44PM

In reply to by JeffS (not verified)

I have a 2015 RT Scat Pack with the 6.4L 392 Hemi. I will say this it was a huge learning curve with that much power 485HP and 475 FT Lbs torque. If I hit the throttle a little to much it can easily slide out from under me. Anyone who owns these types of cars needs to respect the power. As far as what was stated in the article of being able to spin tires at highway speed even with my car I have screeched the tires in 4th gear while shifting and hammering the throttle. I can only imagine what 707HP would do.

Lyle (not verified)    December 23, 2014 - 9:55AM

I really feel sorry for Lance.Sure everyone thinks he is 34 and was out joy riding and showing off.This could happen to anyone.There were no drugs or alcohol involved and apparenty no excessive speeding but he gets charged with careless driving which isn't fair.The cops see it is a younger driver and immediately throw the book at him.As if losing this car wasn"t enough salt to rub into his wound.Thankfully no one was injured which should have been taken into consideration.Lack of experience driving a rear wheel drive car as powerfull as this one is likely the culprit.Plus if this car is a standard a missed shift could have come into play here.I feel as if Chrysler should have included a performance driving course with this car.Anyone can get bitten by the hellcat

JeffS (not verified)    December 23, 2014 - 11:14AM

In reply to by Lyle (not verified)

Lyle, Yea, feel a bit sorry for the guy too, however the cops probably gave him a break, better careless driving, they could have made it reckless driving or endangerment. I doubt getting ticketed had much to do with his age.Looks pretty careless to me, ain't no fender bender. Do not need to be exceeding the speed limit to be driving carelessly. My GUESS is he was feeling his oats, punched it while cruising along and that's all she wrote. Call it what you will, a mistake in judgment, careless driving, getting bit by a Hellcat, the driver holds responsibility in this one. Could have been allot worse, nobody hurt, no other cars involved, he got off easy. Yea, I do feel a mite sorry for the guy. This won't be the last time someone gets blindsided by this brute.

JeffS (not verified)    December 23, 2014 - 1:31PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

What if? If someone shoots off a gun in public with no harm intended and no harm done? If one is speeding excessively down a lonely highway in the middle of the night? No doubt, to some degree a, "lesson". Might turn out to be a very valuable lesson. I do not want to sound hardass, I have been there, I have done that, in my youth I did my fair share of pushing the boundaries. I got my fair share of tickets. My first car was a pristine '67 GTO, wasn't pristine when I got rid of it. Point being, the tickets I got and the accident I got in, (not close to this one) has served me and other drivers on the road, well. All told, in the long run, it very well may be the accident and the ticket may really serve the this fella well. It makes the point when you are behind the wheel, regardless of what you are driving, you, as a driver, are responsible for keeping it safe. I doubt seriously if the driver is cursing anyone other than himself. Don't get me wrong, it absolutely s-cks for the guy, it's one of those, "life's tough lessons", but
I do not see the Police being out of line, insensitive maybe, (what's this guys driving record look like),
could have cut him a break, maybe, Hardass, maybe, out of line, not in my opinion anyway. Be Well

Brandon D (not verified)    December 27, 2014 - 11:53AM

In reply to by Lyle (not verified)

I think throwing the book at him would include a fist full of tickets and reckless driving. he wasnt reprimanded to a degree that would show cops abusing the situation. Cops need to write tickets its their job. If you dont do your job your worthless in my opinion figuratively speaking of course. I think the publicity this accident gets will be a good wake up call for owners of this model. Might let them realize that they cant just go flooring it all over hells half acre without dire consequence. Im probably wrong about that though.

JeffS (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 4:58PM

In reply to by Brandon D (not verified)

I have no idea how anybody can fault the Police in this case, you are absolutely right, they gave the guy a break by just citing him for careless driving. Maybe they should have just left him there to fend for himself. Also, if Utley is so innocent he can always fight the ticket, can you say, "Laughed out of court". If someone did get hurt, (just dumb luck they didn't), the driver would be facing a whole different can of worms, because someone didn't, doesn't make it any less careless.

JeffS (not verified)    December 23, 2014 - 3:07PM

Somebodies got to pay for the cops to run out there, time spent and whatever clean up was necessary. The poor guy has another whammy coming, "his insurance". Aaron, again don't get me wrong, for the owner it is a big price to pay, he loses all the way around, for what probably amounts to be a case of poor judgement on his behalf. Look on the bright side, everyone else's Hellcat just appreciated, there is one less on the road, (don't jump down my throat, just kidding). "Have a nice Holiday", You Gearheads at Torque are the best.

JeffS (not verified)    December 24, 2014 - 6:43AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Always has been. They do not work for free. Somebody pays, in this case should it be the taxpayer for a driver's momentary lapse of reason? All else aside, it's called, "individual responsibility". Are you implying it's nobodies fault? Are you saying it's the cars fault? The weathers fault? The cops fault? Just who caused the accident?

JeffS (not verified)    December 24, 2014 - 2:23PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

I'm sure it was an accident, nobody is implying he did it on purpose. 99.999% of accidents are not on purpose, thus, "accident". Part of the fine is to offset the cost to the taxpayer. In most area's of the country, without traffic fines, Police depts. would either go bankrupt, have to reduce manpower, or
have to RAISE taxes, which would you prefer? Here is another thought, when the insurance companies decide what kind of premium to charge to those who purchase a Hellcat, accidents like this aren't gonna help the premiums others will end up paying. I'll leave it at this, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

moses david (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 12:09PM

In reply to by JeffS (not verified)

Somebody has to pay for the police running to the donut shop for coffee, too. What you overlooked is that cops are on the clock when they're on duty. We tax payers have already covered the cost of having a police force. They need not write citations to justify their purpose. The revenue from traffic tickets goes into the State's General Fund. The village, town or city does not get the revenue from traffic tickets. I'm not saying traffic tickets are never justified, just they are at the Officers discrestion.

JeffS (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 4:45PM

In reply to by moses david (not verified)

It offsets the taxes you would otherwise be paying. In most cases part of it goes back to the police directly. Part of their purpose is to write traffic citations and keep the road safe from Nascar wantabe's and alike. YES it is necessary income to the state and/or township. In this case they were doing their job. It was AT LEAST careless driving. Sorry, this one isn't on the cops. Also I'll tell you, if I was one of his passengers, I don't care how good a friend, I'd be pissed off big time. The driver made a bonehead move and now he has to pay for it, sorry again, but such is life. Look at the wreck and tell me it wasn't careless, to say the least.

JeffS (not verified)    December 24, 2014 - 11:39AM

Plain and simple, even with all the articles and talk about how this beast can bite you, how there is gonna be a learning curve, how it's gonna be like nothing you have driven before, how it's the most powerful production car in the US, and what about common sense, Utley still managed to wrap it around a tree on the first day of ownership. I mean really, it's pretty plain, "Driver error" and looking at the wreck a not so innocent driver error.

Bob (not verified)    December 26, 2014 - 11:59PM

The very first comment "95% of buyers aren't ready for that kind of power." may actually be an understatement. I would say "99.5% of buyers arent ready for that kind of power." As an owner of a 400+ horsepower car since 1969, I personally know of several Chrysler employees that have taken out SRT vehicles with LESS horsepower, and wrapped them around trees and lightposts. These people were simply NOT experienced, trained, or able to handle a high horsepower vehicle.

JeffS (not verified)    December 27, 2014 - 10:26AM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

Hey there Bob. I tend to agree with you. Part of the problem is I suspect many will want to drive this car like a sports car, a sports car it's not. It is a Muscle car, one with huge HP. Also, I question if the car is balanced even for a Muscle car, I think there may be too much engine for the rest of the car as it comes out of the box. First thing I would point to is it's undersized tires. Although 275 is some pretty significant meat, not nearly enough for the HP and Torque this brute produces. Then there is the center of gravity, I suspect it is up pretty high for this kinda muscle. I also suspect the thing is a little nose heavy and kinda light over the rear. I've done my fair share of racing, 1/4 mile, road course, off-road, with all kinds of HP and torque and without ever sitting in a, "Hellcat" the car scares me. In everyday driving in particular,(at the track as well), as far as I'm concerned there is such a thing as too much power, (I am not suggesting to restrict the HP a manufacturer can sell, just the prudent use of it on the road). When driving any car on the public roads, (especially with one that has enough grunt to easily bite you), save the testosterone for the, "Track".

moses david (not verified)    December 27, 2014 - 7:49PM

Having watched (U-tube) Jay Lenno road test the Hellcat, and learning that when driven in Street mode, it has pretty good manners and gets 20 mpg; I think their was serious bad judgement behind the wheel of that wrecked Hellcat. I think it compares to taking a pilot who can fly a single engine prop plane and putting him in the cockpit of a F-16. You are so not ready for that power. Its a car and it looks like most other cars, but that's the fatal error. This is not just like any other car.