Car Takes 'Rocky' Drive Down Steps, Driver Claims Brakes Failed

Cell phone video shows a convertible driving down the Art Museum steps

By Lauren DiSanto and Vince Lattanzio
|  Friday, Oct 25, 2013  |  Updated 9:11 PM EDT
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NBC10's Doug Shimell gets reaction after a car rolls down the

NBC10 - Doug Shimell

NBC10's Doug Shimell gets reaction after a car rolls down the "Rocky" steps. The alleged driver was not charged today, but turned himself in.

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Witness Records Car Driving Down Famous Steps

Cell phone video shows a convertible driving down the Art Museum steps. But the person who shot this cell phone video says there is an explanation.

Convertible Cruises Down Art Museum Steps

Cell phone video shows a convertible driving down the Art Museum steps in the overnight hours.
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A car was caught on video taking a late-night drive down the most famous set of steps in Philadelphia and whether the driver will be charged with a crime remains unclear.

Cell phone video from people at the Philadelphia Museum of Art shows the BMW convertible with the top down, driving down the steps just after midnight on Friday and then speeding off.

The 72 steps in front of the museum are known as the "Rocky Steps," a name that stuck after Sylvester Stallone climbed them during a training exercise in the Oscar-winning film "Rocky." It's a hot spot for tourists who enjoy mimicking Rocky's run.

NBC10 obtained video from two different angles, courtesy Twitter user Brittnie Conover and Philly Chit Chat's Hugh E. Dillon who lives near the Art Museum.

Conover says there is an explanation and had this to say to NBC10.

"He was sitting with his friends talking and his car started to roll down the steps so he jumped in and stopped it and couldn't get it down any other way so he had to drive it down. He went backwards so he wouldn't damage the front end too much more."

But on the video, you can hear voices cheering the driver on and laughing, as he made his way down the steps.

Dillon said, judging by the way the driver was acting, he doesn't believe it was an accident.

"If you're car had just rolled down, you would never know to zig-zag unless you really studied how to get down these stairs," he said. "OI could see his face, he was very happy, very proud of himself."

The maneuver, intentional or not, caused $8,000 in damage to the stone steps and prompted Art Museum officials to inspect them.

Art Museum masonry contractor Gary Lorenzon says this isn't the first incident were someone drove down the steps.

"A lot of people have driven off of it, in different situations," he said. "You know, one guy's drunk, another guy just got lost, another woman couldn't see."

The driver, a college student from Turkey, turned himself in to investigators at the Central Detectives Division on Friday after police began searching for him.

The man, whose identity police are not releasing because he hasn't been charged with a crime, told detectives his brakes were not working.

Police towed the BMW into evidence and are testing the car to see if the driver's claims of brake issues were true.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office approved several charges in the case including Criminal Mischief, which is a felony, but the driver has yet to be charged. Police say they'd like to conduct further testing in of the car before moving forward.

The student was released after being questioned.

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