The Idyllwild Tree Monument was protected from damage by the sign in front of it that was knocked down by Chic Fotjik’s vehicle. Photo by Halie Wilson

Idyllwild’s Charles “Chic” Fojtik, actor, retired Pepperdine University marketing professor and recent producer of the Tahquitz laser show, is a familiar avuncular and upbeat presence to townsfolk.

But on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 28, he was not his usual upbeat, but literally upset. “I was the culprit who knocked down the monument sign Tuesday eve,” said Fojtik. “I was coming from the post office about 9 p.m. when I decided to video the Christmas tree. I pulled just off the road and started filming, going maybe 2 mph.”

Fojtik said he believed his foot slipped off the brake during the filming, the car veered to the right and collided with the Tree Monument sign, causing his vehicle’s airbags to inflate, ensconcing Fojtik in a cocoon of chaos, and damaging the sign.

He called friend and former Art Alliance of Idyllwild President Gary Kuscher to help retrieve him. According to Fojtik, Kuscher said AAI (the Tree Monument caretaker) had been talking about removing the sign and that he would speak to Josh White, owner of the property on which the Tree Monument and damaged sign are located.

Chic Fojtik’s car has a major dent after his altercation with the monument sign. Photo by Halie Wilson

Fojtik said he and Kuscher decided, given the circumstances, there was no reason to file a police report and that they would inform both White and Donna Elliot, current AAI president.

When the TC contacted Elliot for corroboration, she said that AAI has been thinking of contracting David Roy (monument carver) to do some more work on his carving. “We will ask David Roy to put up the sign again,” said Elliot.

Fojtik said the car, although drivable, was declared totaled by his insurance company and that now he, Fojtik, could also be remembered in Idyllwild for “stupid driving tricks,” as he put it.