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LONG ISLAND, NY (CAP) - Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is being hailed as a hero this week after narrowly avoiding a collision with music legend Billy Joel near the Montauk Expressway in Long Island, N.Y.
"He avoided a catastrophic event," Police Chief Todd Harris said. "I can't imagine the damage had his vehicle gone into Billy Joel. The guy has 10 dates scheduled at the Mohegan Sun, for crying out loud."
"It wasn't easy - he kept zigging and zagging!" said Seinfeld. "I think he was trying to kill me!"
Seinfeld, 53, was driving his 1928 Hispano-Suiza H6C boattail roadster Saturday when the brakes failed. "Actually, cars back then barely even had brakes," noted Seinfeld. "They were too busy putting cranks in the front. What was with those cranks? Shouldn't a car have more sophisticated engineering than a Jack-in-the-Box?"
"Right, right, very funny Jerry," responded Chief Harris, rolling his eyes. "Almost as funny as the first two times you said that."
As Seinfeld struggled to regain control of the vehicle, he noticed Joel, driving a vintage VW van, heading directly for him. According to the police report, Joel, 58, at first appeared to have nodded off, then jerked upwards and started swinging the steering wheel wildly back and forth.
Seinfeld managed to avoid Joel's car, veering off the road into a ditch, and Joel dove from his vehicle just before it careened off a 400-foot cliff, exploding in a fiery conflagration on the rocks below.
"I can't believe I crashed another &%$#ing car," said Joel afterwards. "I didn't even know they had cliffs on Long Island."
The Piano Man has a notoriously spotty driving record, having been involved in single-car accidents in 1999, 2001 (two), 2002, 2003, 2004 (three) and 2006. Large gouges taken out of trees and telephone poles in Joel's Montauk neighborhood on three occasions in 2007 could never be conclusively tied to any of his vehicles.
Joel also lamented that the only existing tapes for Back In Black & White: Return Of The Stranger, his first album since 1993's River Of Dreams, had been in the van and were destroyed in the crash.
"Now I've got to start all over again," he said, adding that it could possibly take another 15 years to come up with a whole album's worth of lazily written, shamelessly derivative pop songs.
"I think record albums should be more like photo albums," said Seinfeld. "That way you'd get music, plus blurry pictures of the singers at their family barbecues." Then Joel slugged him.
The issue of celebrities having accidents in their vintage vehicles is not a new one. Just last summer, Tonight Show host Jay Leno rolled one of his three 1896 Ford Quadricycles near his Beverly Hills home. "Which was surprising, since they only go about 12 miles per hour," said Leno. "It's a good thing I was wearing my leather driving helmet and goggles, I tell ya!" Then Joel slugged him.