It could have been a lot worse. But it couldn't have been much more embarrassing.
Heather Locklear has been cited for a misdemeanor hit-and-run that took place in the early hours Saturday, after the OG Melrose Place star allegedly jumped the curb and took out a "no parking" sign near her home.
The 4 a.m. mow-down was not immediately reported (and certainly not by Locklear herself), so police were not able to investigate whether or not an unquenchable thirst preceded her alleged navigational difficulties. The fact that they weren't informed of the incident until well into the following day rendered any blood-alcohol tests completely moot.
In any case, the actress's attorney seems to have wasted no time in crafting her defense: neener neener neener prove it.
Blair Berk, attorney to the most embattled of the stars, says the only thing authorities know is that it was Locklear's car, and not necessarily Locklear herself, that collided with the unsuspecting street sign.
"Ms. Locklear was cited with a misdemeanor traffic ticket as she is the registered owner of the vehicle," Berk said in a written statement. "She was never taken into custody. The matter is still being looked into as it is not yet clear who was driving the vehicle."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Berk makes the big bucks. As for the sheriff's department, a spokesman says a neighbor—who, in a boon for Locklear's defense, didn't even bother getting out of bed and therefore couldn't possibly ID the driver—was the one who reported the accident.
"An individual heard a crash at 4 a.m. on Saturday," Capt. Ross Bonfiglio of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department confirmed to E! News.
"It was her black BMW. [The scene] is close to her home. One of the ways we identified it as her car was debris at the collision scene, which matched her car. We believe there's enough probable cause to establish that she was the driver."
Officers turned up to her Westlake Village, Calif., home the following day and issued the citation then. However, so much time had passed that officers were forced to shelve any would-be investigation work.
Bonfiglio said they didn't receive a call about the smashup until "15 or 16 hours after the accident," and that when they met with Locklear, "there was no indication of a DUI."
Well, we should hope not. Whether or not she had any alcohol the night before is one thing. Still showing signs more than a half a day after the fact would have indicated her participation in the world's most potent pub crawl.
"If it was right after the accident, you would look at performing a test, but it was so long after. It really would have been irrelevant."
She may be a little more talkative come May 17, when she's due for arraignment on the charge in Simi Valley Court.
(Originally published April 21, 2010, at 12:03 p.m. PT)
We think you'll agree (even if she won't): Heather will make a wonderful addition to our ever-growing Court Appearances gallery!