Life imitates literature yet again:
Officers said they began searching for [the] car after a grocery store employee phoned authorities to report that a car leaving the store’s parking lot was missing a wheel.
Lt. Shaun McColgan said [the driver], who was behind the wheel of the car when police arrived, admitted to being intoxicated, but said it did not matter because “he ‘wasn’t driving.'”
The police said [the driver] did not know his car was missing a wheel, nor did he know where or why the crucial car part might have come off the vehicle. The officers said they retraced the path followed by [the driver] — aided by the scratch marks his car left on the pavement — but were unable to locate the missing component. ^
And the original, as written by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
Half a dozen fingers pointed at the amputated wheel — he stared at it for a moment, and then looked upward as though he suspected that it had dropped from the sky.
“It came off,” some one explained.
“At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.”
A pause. Then, taking a long breath and straightening his shoulders, he remarked in a determined voice:
“Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?”
At least a dozen men, some of them little better off than he was, explained to him that wheel and car were no longer joined by any physical bond.
“Back out,” he suggested after a moment. “Put her in reverse.”
“But the WHEEL’S off!”
“No harm in trying,” he said. ^
Denial of responsibility seems an eternal trait.