Utility workers quickly restored a key Blacktip Island power pole damaged by Dermott Bottoms, who rammed into the pole less than a minute after having his drivers license re-instated. (photo courtesy of W. Carter)
Blacktip Island resident Dermott Bottoms Wednesday set a new record for shortest-held drivers license after losing his driving privileges less than a minute after having them re-instated, island officials said.
“Dermott walked out of the government office with his new license, got in his car and backed straight into a power pole,” public works director Stoney MacAdam said. “We didn’t have a timer going or anything, but judging by the time stamp on the computer, it was right at 37 seconds between getting the license and hitting the pole. The plastic license was still warm.
“Technically it took 42 minutes for Rafe Marquette to get there and officially seize the license,” MacAdam said. “Dermott beat James Conlee, the former record holder, by a good 31 hours. Either way, it’s not a record that’ll be broken anytime soon.”
Witnesses described a chaotic scene.
“Dermott was so excited not to have to bum rides anymore,” Catalina Luxfer said. “He jumped in the car, stomped on the gas and BLAM into the power pole. We all saw the look in his eyes and scattered to get out of his way. I think he was a surprised as anyone.”
Officials say the incident might have been overlooked if not for complicating factors.
“If Dermott had hit any other pole, then gone about his business, no one would have noticed,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Problem was, that particular pole was key to power to at store. And the bank. And the airfield. And internet island-wide. There were power and fiber optic lines everywhere.
“There’s the driving under the influence issue as well,” Marquette said. “Normally we could overlook that, but not this time. Dermott also became the first person on island to have his license revoked four times. He pulled off a traffic double-double.”
Bottoms contested the charges.
“I lost my touch, not driving for a year,” he said. “Needs to be a grace period to ease back into things. Not my fault my skills slipped. And folks can do without food and money and email for a little bit. Blacktippers, we’re resilient, you know.
“And I wasn’t under any influence,” he said. “Only had two shots of rum, to calm my nerves, before I got the license. Damage could’ve been worse.”
Officials rejected Bottoms’ request for a plaque commemorating his license loss.
“Celebrating Dermott’s dubious achievement would only make things worse,” Marquette said. “Next thing you know people would be out trying to break the record. Hell, Dermott would try to break his own record. And would probably succeed.”