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OUR VIEW: Local crash video leads to riches (vote in poll)

By: Wayne Laugesen
January 4, 2011
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Two lessons emerge from last week’s storm: 1. Four-wheel drive trucks can’t defy physics; and 2. A video phone and talent can make a person rich.

Ian Smith, 20, was among those last Thursday who decided against driving stupidly, thus preserving his mother’s late-model Lexus SUV. Smith also had a phone on hand that could shoot high-definition video. As a student of the multimedia Full Sail University, Smith knew to keep the camera rolling and how to get the right shots. He’s prospering from a video of people who lost control on ice and snow . Some were caught off guard; others clearly thought their vehicles could defy gravity. No one, thankfully, was injured.(see video )

“Ian’s future is looking bright and financially set,” said Phillip Tapia, vice president of Colorado Springs-based Tapia Advertising , who is working as Smith’s new agent.

Smith’s opportunity began when he approached a steep stretch of South Carefree Thursday afternoon. He saw other vehicles sliding backward, crashing into one another. He took a less icy parallel street up the hill, parked near South Carefree, and rolled video with his Samsung Capitivate phone. Five days later, Smith has more than 500,000 YouTube views. He’s receiving national-media interview requests. Tapia is cutting licensing deals for Smith with ABC, NBC, CNN, the BBC, the show “Top 20 Most Shocking Videos” and at least one other show that runs on the all-reality network truTV. Smith was paid an undisclosed amount to post CheapoAutoQuotes.com directly under the video, and for a link to AutoCreditSolvers.com , a local service owned by Nevada Auto Sales . A national tire company wants the video for an ad. Traffic to Smith’s rap-music files , which are extraordinary, has also taken off as a result of the crash footage. (Hear Ian Smith's music )

“People are seeing his other work and liking it,” Tapia said.

The eight-minute crash video peaks after showing several cars sliding into others that have already crashed. Just as it seems abundantly obvious that efforts to climb the hill are futile, a white pickup with “4x4” decals approaches the hill. On video, Smith decries and fears the plans of the driver who’s about to help make him rich.

“His window was open,” Smith told The Gazette. “Everyone was yelling at him to stop. I guess he wanted to test the limits of his truck, or maybe he was ill-educated.”

The pickup driver nears the top of the hill and tries to go around a stopped vehicle. The driver revs the diesel engine. The truck begins sliding backward. It gains momentum and smacks three cars before a big final crash. Other cars dislodged by the pickup continue to slide and collide.

(Vote in poll to the right in red type. Must vote to see results. Thanks!)

“We tried to tell you dude,” yells an angry bystander.

“I’m an Oreo Cookie. I mean my car...” says a man who watched the truck sandwich his vehicle.

“It ain’t going to be worth much,” concedes a bystander.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” yells a woman to the pickup driver, who stayed in his truck.

For most on South Carefree, Thursday was nothing but trouble. For Smith, it was a day when tragedy collided with opportunity, ability and preparedness. In the Internet Age, that can mean a well-deserved, unexpected fortune.

Friend editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen on Facebook

(Hear Ian Smith's music )

(See 20-car crash )

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