The most common purchase of popular celebrities, sporting heroes and TV personalities has four wheels and a huge price tag. There is no doubt that flashy cars and sports cars are synonymous with fame and fortune. Like designer clothing, the rich and famous drive the most expensive and advanced cars available. Despite having access to these incredible vehicles, it is important to remember that the same rules and values govern us all, particularly with regard to personal safety and the law.
Road deaths are on the rise in the United States. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that despite years of decline (fatal road accidents dropped over 25% from 2005 to 2011) road deaths rose by almost 6% in 2012 and are continuing to rise at an alarming rate. This increase has been attributed to America’s steadily improving economy, which means that more people are driving than ever before.
Most of the celebrities on this list are lucky, as they only had to pay for their car crash with medical bills and damage costs. In more extreme cases, months of rehabilitation or court cases faced those who were lucky enough to survive. Some were not as fortunate as others, and had to pay with their lives. Cases of celebrities dying in car crashes are not unheard of. Both James Dean and Grace Kelly died in tragic accidents, along with many others over the course of the 20th century, accidents that received huge media coverage. Sadly, not much has changed. The rich and famous still commonly fall victim to car crashes. Take a look at our list of the 10 Most Shocking Celebrity Car Crashes to see some of the most unbelievable stories of recent years. It is truly shocking how some of these people managed to walk away with their lives.
10. Tiger Woods
Back in late 2009, the most famous golfer in the world left his Florida mansion in a hurry in his Cadillac Escalade. It was 2:30am, and Woods had reportedly argued with then-wife Elin Nordegren over infidelity issues (which would later bring an end to their marriage). Woods drove his Cadillac into a fire hydrant, which caused him to collide into a tree. Nordegren rushed to the scene after the accident, pulling Woods from the wreckage. Woods had to be treated in hospital for cuts and bruises, while his $60,000 car was badly damaged. A lot of ambiguity surrounds these events- many sources reported that Nordegren had attacked Woods with a golf club, while others claimed that she had used the club to break into the car to rescue him.
9. Usain Bolt
Multiple World Record holder Usain Bolt has survived not one but two car crashes, which both occurred in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2012, Bolt was returning from a party with some friends in the early hours, when he lost control of his BMW M3, smashing into a guard rail. A more serious incident occurred in 2009, when Bolt crashed his BMW into a ditch. Bolt had to have surgery on his foot after it was impaled by thorns as he escaped from the wreckage. Bolt is certainly a lucky man; even though his life wasn’t in danger, his career nearly was.
8. George Michael
Earlier last year, legendary singer and songwriter George Michael was involved in a mysterious road accident, which resulted in him being treated in hospital for head injuries. During rush hour, he apparently fell from the car when he tried to close the door after noticing that it wasn’t shut properly, yet this has never been verified. According to reports, the busy road was smeared with blood as Michael lay in shock a few feet away. Michael’s record is already marred by a string of traffic accidents and driving offences. In 2010, Michael drove his Range Rover into a building in London, and in 2006 was found unconscious in his Mercedes. Both of these incidents were a result of the beloved singer’s long battle with drug addiction.
7. Ryan Dunn
Dunn’s car crash in June 2011 was unexpected for a number of reasons. The severity of the crash and the ultimate tragedy that resulted from it was perhaps more shocking because of who Ryan Dunn was. Dunn had spent years with the Jackass and Viva La Bam crews, taking part in unimaginable stunts. To his fans, Dunn actually seemed to be untouchable. The facts speak for themselves however; Dunn had been speeding at 140 mph and was two times over the limit. Dunn’s car veered from the road, killing both him and his passenger. Dunn was 34 years old.
6. Ian Wright
Wright, the British TV host and former Arsenal striker, wrote off a $200,000 Ferrari 360 Spider convertible after driving it off the road in Croydon, UK. Needless to say, the car was completely destroyed, with the cost of repairing the car rising well above $50,000. The shocking thing is that Wright walked away with barely a scratch. Wright had been playing with fire- he had purposely turned the vehicle’s traction control off, which led to the accident. Despite Wright’s amazing luck, he faced a massive bill to get his car repaired. After his life was spared, it appeared that Wright’s luck had run out; his tax had just expired when the incident occurred.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is another seriously lucky person. Ronaldo was travelling to football training in January 2009 in his Ferrari 599 GTB sports car when he smashed into a roadside barrier in a tunnel in Manchester. The car, worth almost $350,000, was demolished. The car made such an impact with the barrier that one of its wheels was pulled off and was found yards away from the crash site. Ronaldo managed to escape the wreckage without any injuries, and actually made it to football training that very morning! Ronaldo later sold the demolished car for over $65,000- albeit small change to the highest earning footballer on the planet, with a mind-boggling annual salary of €21 million.
4. Jay Kay
Jamiroquai’s lead singer Jay Kay made a bad decision when filming the video for the band’s hit song, Cosmic Girl. Jay decided to drive his prized sports car himself during the shoot- with disastrous consequences. Jay attempted to turn a corner sharply and completely lost control of the car. The vehicle in question was a stunning, magenta Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota- and it was completely destroyed. Over a quarter of a million dollars worth of damage was done to the car. Jay Kay, shockingly, was absolutely fine and escaped with no major injuries.
3. Prince Naseem Hamed
The British former World Featherweight Boxing Champion was involved in an extremely serious incident in 2005. Hamed dangerously overtook a car (crossing a solid white line) in his Mercedes SLR McLaren, which resulted in a collision with a Volkswagen Golf. Hamed’s car then smashed into the vehicle he had tried to overtake. The passenger of the Volkswagen spent weeks in hospital with fractures to “every major bone in his body”. Hamed was reportedly showing off his car’s abilities to his passenger at the time. Hamed was sentenced to 15 months in jail for reckless driving and was banned from driving for four years.
2. Rowan Atkinson
It is no secret that beloved English actor Atkinson is an avid car enthusiast, but he doesn’t have the best track record. In 2011 Atkinson crashed his McLaren F1- one of the fastest road cars available. Atkinson had crashed the car before, but this incident was more serious. Atkinson had to be treated for a shoulder injury, and the car was destroyed. The shocking thing is how much Atkinson managed to claim from his insurance company- £910,000, or about $1.5 million! Luckily, Atkinson recovered from his injury quickly, and he also set the record for the highest car insurance claim in British history.
1. Richard Hammond
The fact that Richard Hammond is still standing is the reason why he makes it to number one on our list. In 2006, Hammond was involved in one of the most shocking car crashes in history. The well-known TV presenter was trying to break the British land speed record in a Vampire Dragster (which is essentially a jet-powered car) which was worth a whopping $2.5 million. A malfunctioning tire caused Hammond to veer from the racetrack at a colossal 300mph. The car turned over a number of times, eventually coming to a halt, wedged in the grass at the side of the tracks. Hammond spent months in intensive care as he had suffered serious brain damage. Remarkably, Hammond managed to make a full recovery.