California is famous for many things but one thing may be more accurately termed as infamous; celebrity car accidents. There is a high concentration of celebrities in this state, so it stands to reason there would be more celebrity auto accidents here but the fact is still dismaying. Often times it is the excesses of success that lead to the accident. Plentiful, drugs, alcohol and little responsibility can be a dangerous combination. Other times it is road construction, negligent drivers or just dumb luck. Regardless of how it happens, our California roads have taken many famous lives.
Paul Walker is the most recent celebrity to die on California roadways. He was a passenger traveling with friend, Roger Rodas, who was a Pro-Am racer and also Walkers financial advisor. They had left a charity event in Rodas’s Porsche. While no drugs or alcohol played a part in this terrible accident that left Paul Walker dead and burning in a car on a Hercules Street in Santa Clarita, California, careless, childish drag racing may have. Police have made no connection between the accident and drag racing, although the section of the road the accident occurred on is popular for drifting cars, they did, however, say that speed was definitely a factor. The area was a 45 mph zone. Reports show the car going in speeds excess of 100 mph.
James Dean died in one of the most horrific celebrity car crashes of all time. In another Porsche accident, Dean took off in the Porsche Spyder he’d named Little Bastard, in route to a race in Salinas. In an odd turn of fate, he and his passenger, Rolph Weutherich, were pulled over for speeding only a short time before being hit head-on by a truck as it turned left onto the Interstate. While Weutherich received many serious injuries, James Dean was nearly decapitated and died from his injuries.
Darrell Russell and Michael Bastianelli
NFL players Darrell Russell and Michael Bastianelli were killed in a California car accident together. In December of 2005 they were travelling in a Pontiac Grand Prix as Bastianelli drove. The car veered out of control and hit a tree, fire hydrant and bus. Russell was a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins.
After leaving a dinner party at the home of Elizabeth Taylor, his costar in Raintree Country, Montgomery Clift smashed his car into a telephone pole in Beverly Hills. A friend of the two, Kevin McCarthy witnessed the accident swiftly ran back to report it to Taylor and her husband. She rushed to his side and tended his injuries, removing a tooth from his tongue as he began to choke on it, before paramedics arrived. He was seriously injured with many cuts, lacerations and broken bones in his face. He was in the middle of film production at the time of the accident, which had to be halted for two months as he recovered and had reconstructive surgery. Audiences of the movie could see the noticeable differences in his face in the scenes before and after the accident. He never fully recovered emotionally and became addicted on pain pills and alcohol.