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20 Celebs Who Couldn’t Handle Their Sports Cars (And Should’ve Hired A Driver Instead)

High Life
20 Celebs Who Couldn’t Handle Their Sports Cars (And Should’ve Hired A Driver Instead)

Celebs love their sports cars, supercars, souped up SUVs, and other vehicles. The rest of us make do with whatever vehicle we can get our hands on, but when you’ve got millions, it’s only natural to get a ride that fits the lifestyle. And why stop at one? Many celebs have collections of high performance vehicles. It’s too bad, though, that all that money can’t buy good driving skills — or good judgment.

Driving too fast, driving drunk, dodging paparazzi – there are many ways that the rich and famous and their cars can get into trouble. And, when that accident happens, it’s not your typical insurance bill either.

With supercars, come super insurance premiums, lawyers fees, civil suits, and more that can take a big bite out of even the fattest wallet — not to say the damage to career — and reputation that can follow a bad accident. Here’s a look at some of the many noteworthy celebrity car crashes over the decades.

20. James Dean And The Cursed Car

James Dean — the bad boy of 1950s cinema — was only 24 when the Porsche 550 Spyder he was driving to an auto rally in California was involved in a head-on crash with another car. Speed was said to be a factor, no surprise there. He passed a few hours later. That’s bad enough — after that point, it just gets weird. The car was nicknamed “Little Bastard” and after Dean’s death, it was sold off in parts to a number of other Porsche lovers. The kicker is that a number of those other Porsche owners were also involved in serious and even fatal accidents after they added Little B’s parts to their own cars. Just speed? Many people believe to this day that the car was cursed.

19. Ryan Dunn — No Stunt

Ryan Dunn was a comedian, actor, and musician, but he found fame in the 1990s as a stunt performer — specifically, part of the CKY Crew that became the Jackass boys. He was in the first three Jackass movies, and had parts in a couple of feature films. In 2006, he was injured, and the aftermath led to his dropping out of the extreme stun racket for a couple of years. But, he got back on the horse in 2008 and rejoined the crew. It was probably a bad move. In June 2011, after being seen partying for hours — a fact he documented with a pic on Twitter — he got into his Porsche 911 GT3 with a buddy, and shortly after that, wrapped it around a tree. The car burst into flames, killing them both. The car was said to be going about 140mph at the time of the crash.

18. Rowan Atkinson — Crash And Prosper

Rowan Atkinson has found worldwide fame as Mr. Bean, his most iconic role, and one that has made him a lot of money. So much, that he bought himself a rare McLaren F1 sporting a 6.1-liter V12 engine. Only 106 of the sleek sports cars — which set the record for the world’s fastest production car at about 240mph in 1998 — were ever made. He bought it for about £540,000 ($770,000) in 1997. In 1999, he reversed it by mistake, hitting a Range Rover. Then, in 2011, he crashed it into a hedge, and his insurance had to fork out about £910,000 (about $1.3 million) for repairs. We don’t even want to imagine what his premiums were after that! In 2015, he sold the car for an undisclosed amount after listing it for £8 million (just under $11.5 million).

17. Jay Kay Walks Away

Jay Kay is a singer/songwriter, one of the founding members of Jamiroquai. The band, formed in 1994, was riding high by 2006, and Kay had amassed a nice collection of luxury rides. One of them was a purple Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota that appeared in the video for the band’s song “Cosmic Girl”. Jay was taking a turn just a little too fast, and the result was catastrophic — to the car at least. He walked away without serious injuries, and an $850 fine. That’s not the end of his bad luck with cars, however. In 2009, his Ferrari worth about $1.4 million was smashed up in an act of vandalism after he got into a fight at a bar. He described the incident as “disappointing.”

16. Nick Hogan — Drifting And Prison Time

“Drifting” is a move where you over steer your car so that the front wheels are pointing one way and the rear wheels the other. It makes for exciting competitions between professional drivers where speed and showmanship rule. Naturally, it’s illegal everywhere but on a racetrack. That didn’t matter to Nick Hogan, son of famed wrestler, back in 2007. To be fair, Nick was only 17 when he drove his Toyota Supra that fateful day in August 2007 in Florida with his best friend in the passenger seat. Two other friends were in a Dodge Viper that also belonged to the Hogan clan as they went to meet at a restaurant. On the way, the two drivers decided to drag race, and Nick thought he’d throw a drift into the game. Bad move. He lost control of the Supra and it crashed into a palm tree. Nick and his friend were airlifted to hospital, and while Nick was released later that day, his unlucky friend suffered severe brain and eye damage, and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life. Nick was charged with a number of offences, including reckless driving, and served 8 months in jail plus five years probation, and 500 hours of community service. His license was suspended for three years. It was reckless, sure, but we’re just glad we didn’t have a sports car when we were 17.

15. Eddie Griffin — Gas Instead Of Brakes

Eddie Griffin is an actor and comedian, and while he may not be a household name, he’s worked steadily in movies since about the early 1990s, and he’s popular on the stand-up circuit. He’s probably best known for the 2002 movie Undercover Brother and his title role in the TV series Malcolm & Eddie, which ran from 1996 to 2000. In 2007, he was supposed to be participating in a celebrity charity car race, which was also promoting Redline, a movie he was in at the time. Driving a borrowed Ferrari Enzo worth about $1.5 million, he wiped out during the practice run. Turns out he pressed gas instead of brake. Whoops! Concrete barrier 1, Eddie 0.

14. Lindsay Lohan Should Never Get Behind The Wheel Again

Lilo, as we all know, has had her fair share of troubles with the law. Turns out she’s had more than her fair share of car crashes too. She and her passenger were left with minor injuries after a crash in 2005. Lindsay was driving a black Mercedes-Benz SLG65 AMG convertible, and was being chased by paparazzi when she thought she’d pull a trick turn to lose them. Wrong move. She hit a minivan. In June 2012, she totalled her Porsche on the way to a movie set. Lindsay claimed a truck had cut her off – lucky for her it was a rental. Barely a month later, she rear-ended a Mustang while driving another rented Porsche. The accident happened on iconic Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, and occurred at a stoplight, with no injuries. She was, however, later sued by the woman she’d struck. In 2015, she became the spokesperson for a car insurance company, calling herself the queen of car crashes.

13. Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes Is Missed

Lisa Lopes was one of the members of hit group TLC, together with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. The Atlanta-based group had a string of hits during the 1990s, including their iconic single “No Scrubs,” and they won a Grammy for their second album, CrazyS*xyCool, which sold 10 million copies. In 2002, she was vacationing with friends in Honduras, where she was also volunteering for a children’s centre. She was driving a Mitsubishi Montero, a sport SUV, and several people were in the vehicle with her when she swerved to avoid another car on the road. Lisa lost control of the Mitsubishi and it left the road, rolling several times. She suffered a blow to the head and passed away on the scene. Lisa was said to be speeding when she lost control. The tragedy effectively ended the group.

12. Vince Neil And The End Of Hanoi Rocks

Vince Neil is best known for his work as lead singer of glam-rock hair band Mötley Crüe who peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1984, Hanoi Rocks, a hard rock band from Finland, were about to launch their second American tour, when their lead singer broke his ankle. Since the band had already met the Crüe boys in Europe, some of them ended up at Neil’s house to wait it out while the lead singer recovered. After the party had been going on for a few days non-stop, Neil and Razzle Dingley, the drummer for the Finns, decided on a drive to the liquor store for more fuel. Neil, who was, of course, drunk, lost control of the classic vintage 72 Ford Pantera sports car he was driving and hit another vehicle. The two people in the other car suffered brain damage, and Razzle passed away from his injuries. Neil was charged after the accident, and served a mere 15 days of a 30 day sentence in jail. He was also sentenced to five years probation, 200 hours of community service, and had to pay $2.6 million to the victims.

11. Keith Moon Hurts Bodyguard

Keith Moon was the drummer for legendary rock band the Who in the late 1960s and 1970s. He was famous for destroying his drum kit on stage, and for prodigious substance abuse on and off stage. Apparently, Moon drove a Lincoln Continental into a swimming pool on his 21st birthday. In 1970, he was at a local bar that a neighbor had opened up with his driver and bodyguard, Neil Boland. The bar, as it turned out, was a local hangout for blue collar skinheads who resented Keith’s show of rockstar wealth. There was trouble at the bar, and by the time the group got back into Keith’s Bentley, the crowd was throwing rocks at them. Boland got out of the car to confront the skinheads, and Keith got behind the wheel, drunk of course. He was barely coasting along, but didn’t realize that Boland had fallen down in the crowd confusion. Keith accidentally ran over and killed him. He was charged and pleaded guilty to drunk driving, but in the end, all charges were dropped. Sadly, Moon’s addictions got the better of him. In 1978, at the age of 32, he died of an overdose of clomethiazole, a substance that was supposed to get him off the booze.

10. Dennis Rodman In DUI Trouble

Former NBA and friend to Kim Jong-un Dennis Rodman has kept himself in the headlines since retirement, but for all the wrong reasons. In 2016, he was driving his luxury SUV the wrong way down a California freeway, and another car smashed into the barrier trying to avoid him. Rodman then fled the scene. Naturally, he and his lawyer had a different story, but he’d been seen by witnesses, including those who said they’d seen him drinking at a karaoke bar before the accident. He was charged with hit-and-run and a few other misdemeanors, including lying to police, but not a DUI. Rodman tried to deny the whole incident, but facing a potential two years in jail, he made a deal with prosecutors. He was placed on three years probation on the condition that he stay out of trouble during that time. Fast forward to January 2018 and Dennis is charged with a DUI. It looks like the former Chicago Bulls star may have his probation revoked and end up in jail anyway.

9. Lane Garrison Parties With Teens

Actor Lane Garrison is probably best known for his role as David “Tweener” Apolskis on the TV series Prison Break. Oh, the irony. He was 26 in 2007, he was partying with a bunch of high schoolers. He had substances and was over twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream when he decided to get behind the wheel of his Land Rover. Somewhere along the way, he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree at about midnight. One of the teens in his SUV, a 17 year old, died, while two 15-year-old girls suffered serious injuries. Police reported finding liquor in the car. According to his lawyer, he’d met the teens at a grocery store, and they’d invited him to the party. He was supposedly driving them back to the store. Lane was charged and pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to 40 months in jail, of which he served 20 months. He was also ordered to pay about $300,000 in restitution to the injured victims, and was later sued for wrongful death by the parents of the kid who had passed.

8. The Tragedy Of Jackson Pollock 

Jackson Pollock was one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century and a major figure in the school of abstract expressionism. His technique of drip painting was revolutionary at the time, and he gained fame and wealth over his career. But underneath it all, he was a troubled man and an alcoholic. Sadly, his career — and life — were cut short in 1956 at the age of 44 after a boozy car accident that occurred barely a mile from his home in Springs, New York. He lost control of his Oldsmobile convertible and it rolled over and crashed, killing him and one of his passengers. His mistress (Pollock was still married to wife Lee at the time), who was also in the car, survived.

7. Usain Bolt And BMW Bad Luck

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, has a thing for fast cars — not surprising. While he owns a number of high performance vehicles, including a gold Nissan GT-R that he was gifted with after his 2012 gold medal Olympic wins, the two accidents he was involved with happened when he was driving a BMW M3, a classy sedan with the guts of a race car and about 444hp. The first occurred in 2009, when he lost control of the M3 he was driving near Kingston, Jamaica. Luckily, he only required treatment for scratches from a thorn bush that happened when he got out of the car after it rolled three times. He called it a “freak accident” in an interview, and says he was driving barefoot at the time. The second happened when he took a curve too fast on the way home from a party in the wee hours of the morning and hit the rail. Again, the lucky man walked away with barely a scratch.

6. Spectacular Smith Destroys Lamborghini

Spectacular Smith (yes, it’s the name he was given at birth,) was a singer in the now defunct R&B/hip hop group Pretty Ricky. The Miami-based band had several hit singles to their credit by 2011 and were doing well — well enough for Spectacular to buy himself an orange Lamborghini Gallardo. His singing skills may be spectacular, but his driving skills not so much. In March 2011, he lost control of the flashy supercar and totalled it, hitting another car. He Tweeted about it from the hospital. “Just got into a accident and everything on my body is hurting. And now my Lamborghini is gone.” He continued to Tweet about it the next day while still in hospital. The Lamborghini is gone, the band is now gone, and Spectacular is making a mint monetizing Twitter these days.

5. Kris Jenner Crashes Into Man’s Home

Momager Kris Jenner destroyed not only a man’s car in an accident in 2016, she took away his home. She was driving in her white $250,000 Rolls Royce near her home in Calabasas, California when she struck a Prius at an intersection. The Prius was totalled and the force of the crash activated her airbags. Naturally, Kylie and Khloe rushed to the scene as paramedics treated her for injuries to her wrist. The other driver seems to have fared worse. As it turns out, the dude, an out of work actor, was apparently broke and actually living in his car when he decided to cut in front of Kris’ Rolls, making it a bad day for him all around.

4. Halle Berry Hit-And-Run

Award-winning actress Halle Berry has been involved in multiple car accidents, but the most spectacular occurred in February 2000. Halle was driving her white Chevy Blazer in West Hollywood when she broadsided another vehicle after running a red light. Halle apparently just drove away. While she did leave the scene, Halle eventually reported the accident to police at the hospital where she went for treatment. She had a gash in her forehead that required 22 stitches, and the other driver suffered a broken wrist. The woman she hit and her lawyer insisted that Halle was drunk or high when the accident happened, and they even claimed that she had been involved in other hit-and-run accidents prior to this one. Those allegations weren’t proven in court, however, and Halle pleaded no contest to the charge of leaving the scene, saying that, due to her head injury, she had no memory of the event. She was fined $13,500, and sentenced to three years probation plus 200 hours of community service. In more recent interviews, she has credited the community service with turning her life towards doing more charity work.

3. Caitlyn Jenner — Fatal Crash, No Charges

Caitlyn Jenner was just about to go public with her transformation from the former Bruce Jenner in 2015 when she was involved in a fatal car accident. In February 2015, she was towing an off-road vehicle behind her Cadillac Escalade when she rear-ended a Lexus at a stoplight. The Lexus was sitting behind another vehicle, and was thrown into the intersection, where it was hit hard by a Hummer. The woman driving the Lexus died on the scene and occupants of the Hummer were also injured. Jenner blamed paparazzi for the accident, who she said had been following her all day and distracted her at the time of the accident. While a judge found she had been driving too fast, she was still under the legal limit and was cleared of all charges. The Los Angeles DA decided there was not enough evidence to charge her.

2. Terry Glenn — Former NFLer Lost Control

Terry Glenn was a talented wide receiver who had a 12-year career in the NFL. His last team was the Dallas Cowboys, and he was coming home from a Cowboys game on November 20, 2017 with his fiancée. Near Irving, Texas, Terry apparently lost control of his high end pick-up truck and it smashed into the concrete barrier separating the express and regular lanes. The vehicle rolled and Terry was thrown out onto the street. He passed a few hours later in hospital, while his fiancée suffered minor injuries. An autopsy later revealed that his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. It was a sad end for a man who was said to be finally happy after a difficult early life.

1. Christopher McDonald – The Celebrity Card Doesn’t Always Work

Actor Christopher McDonald has appeared on screen in a lot of huge number of movie and TV roles in a career that goes back to 1980, but he’s probably best known for his turn as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore. None of that helped him, however, when he drove his classic silver Porsche right off the highway in October 2017 near Lake Arrowhead, California, on the way home after chugging beers at an Oktoberfest party. He took out a gas meter on the way, end ended up on an embankment. When the cops got there, he tried the “Hey I was in Happy Gilmore” ruse, but the cops weren’t buying it. He was charged with a DUI and went to jail for the night to sober up. It wasn’t his first DUI, either. In 2013, he was busted while driving after partying hard in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ironically, in July 2017 when Tiger Woods was going through his own DUI troubles, Chris made a public statement of support.

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