Driving Darth Vader

Hayden Christensen probably wishes he had a space ship to take him from Syracuse to Toronto Saturday night when his Ferrari broke down on North Salina Street.

Instead, the 25-year-old actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the last two “Star Wars” movies, spent eight hours in a flat bed truck with an Oswego County tow truck operator.

Christensen was driving in Bullrun 2006, an invitation-only, cross-country tour from New York to Los Angeles. The week-long tour costs $14,000 to enter and features 100 of the most exclusive cars in the world. Christensen was driving a $125,000, 1999 Ferrari with only 6,000 miles on it. At about 6 p.m. Saturday, his transmission broke down while driving on Interstate 81 in Syracuse. He pulled off the highway onto North Salina Street, near St. Joseph’s Hospital, to call a tow company.

Steve Burdick, who owns AAAA Burdick Discount Towing, was probably the first guy Christensen found in the phone book. Burdick didn’t know Christensen was famous when he pulled up to the scene.

“I just thought he had a rich daddy,” Burdick said. “I asked him what he does for a living and he said he was studying to become an actor, so I didn’t think much of it. I asked him if he knows Tom Cruise and he said he did.”

The pair spent more than an hour trying to figure out how to load the Ferrari onto the truck. It was stuck in second gear, Burdick said, and wouldn’t start. Finally, Burdick ran to a convenience store, bought a bottle of Wesson cooking oil and lubed the tires so they’d slide onto the flat bed.

“I’ve never hooked up a Ferrari before,” he said. “It took some fancy maneuvering to hook it up to the truck.”

The tow to Toronto was going to cost $1,000: $3.95 per mile

plus a $75 hook-up, Burdick said. Christensen agreed and they began the roughly 240-mile journey into Canada. Burdick still didn’t know his companion was the young Darth Vader.

Burdick told Christensen that he was a born again Christian and asked him if he had given his life to the Lord, he said. Hayden told Burdick that he believed “people came from monkeys,” Burdick said. The conversation got a bit deep and heated at times, Burdick said.

Comments are closed.