Celebrity killers isn’t the first thing that would pop into your head when I say “famous”. And just because someone is famous, it doesn’t mean that horrible things don’t happen to them. Or they don’t do horrible things to other people. Welcome to the Latte Lindsay series on Celebrity Killers. This part is packed with car crashes from the rich and famous.
On the 5th August 1987, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Gray were on holiday in Northern Ireland when they were involved in a fatal car accident. The pair had only started seeing each other a few months before and hadn’t gone public with their relationship. Broderick was driving his rented Red BMW outside Enniskillen with Gray in the passenger’s seat when the car drifted into the other lane with oncoming traffic. They collided with a brown Volvo which was travelling in the other direction. The two passengers in the Volvo, Anna Gallagher (28) and her mother, Margaret Doherty (63), were both killed in the crash. Broderick suffered a broken leg, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and concussion. Gray only suffered minor injuries and whiplash. The media attention that followed forced the couple to go public with their relationship. Broderick spent a month in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast recovering from his injuries and faced up to five years in prison for death by dangerous driving. The charge was lessened to careless driving and he was fined $175. A few months later the couple split over the strain of what happened.
Vince Neil of Motley Crue
On 8th December 1984, Vince Neil was having a party at his home in Los Angeles with members of the Finnish band, Hanoi Rocks. The lead singer, Michael Monroe, had broken his ankle and the band had some free time while he rested up for a few days. At some point during the party, Vince Neil and Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley (the drummer of Hanoi Rocks) decided to head out to the local liquor store. Neil was drunk and speeding while he was behind the wheel of his De Tomaso Pantera, and crashed into another car. The people in the car Neil struck were seriously injured and suffered brain damage afterwards. Razzle was rushed to South Bay ER but was pronounced dead on arrival. Neil was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison but only served 15 days because of good behaviour, five years probation, 200 hours of community service, and made to pay $2.6 million to the victims.
On 30th December 2006 Brandy Norwood was driving on San Diego (405) freeway in Los Angeles at 65 mph when the cars in front of her slowed down quickly and Brandy didn’t notice. Norwoods Range Rover hit the car in front, sending it into another car. The Toyota that the singer struck was hit by several more vehicles, causing a pile-up. Awatef Aboudiha, 38-year-old mother of two, was driving the Toyota and died of her injuries the next day. During the investigation, it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge Brandy with manslaughter and that Awatef may have been to blame for the accident as she had braked late and struck the car in front of her. Toxicology reports showed that Awatef had slight traces of marijuana in her system. For three years after the accident Brandy suffered from multiple lawsuits from Awatef’s husband, children and parents, each asking for millions in compensation.
Keith Moon (The Who)
Keith Moon was the legendary drummer of The Who. On 4 January 1970, while out for the evening at the Red Lion Pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in England, things got a bit out of hand. Customers of the pub started attacking Moons car. Moon was drunk and as he attempted to escape from the crowd in his Bentley, during the confusion he ran over Neil Boland. Boland was Keith Moon’s friend, driver and bodyguard. It was ruled an accident by the coroner and Moon received an absolute discharge. For years afterwards, Keith was haunted by the accident and Pamela Des Barres (or Miss Pamela as she was better known) claimed he had nightmares over it. He believed he had no right to be alive after what happened. Moon died of an overdose 23rd August 1978.
On 6th November 1963, a 17-year-old Laura Bush was involved in a car accident which killed a fellow student. Laura and her friend were rushing to a drive-in cinema when they ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle. The driver of the other car was Laura’s classmate and friend, Michael Dutton Douglas. Although Michael was killed, Laura and her passenger only suffered minor injuries. She was never charged with the death and there was no evidence that she had been drinking. All three people involved in the accident were students at Robert E Lee High School in Midland. For years afterwards, Laura suffered from guilt and lost her faith in God for a number of years.
Rebecca Gayheart has featured in Scream 2, Beverly Hill 90210, but is known best as the Noxzema girl. On 13th June 2001 at 2:40 pm, Gayheart was driving through central LA in a Jeep Grand Cherokee when she pulled around some cars and hit 9-year-old, Jorge Cruz. The traffic had stopped to let the 3rd grader across the road and Gayheart didn’t see him. He died the next day from his injuries. Gayheart received 3 years probation, a one-year suspension of her driving licence, a $2,800 fine, and 750 hours of community service. Gayheart shut down emotionally for a number of years after the accident and needed therapy to help her cope with happened.
Amy Locane (Melrose Place)
On 27th June 2010 in Montgomery, New Jersey, Amy Locane was driving with a blood alcohol three times the legal limit. Helene Seeman and her husband were turning into their driveway when Locane hit their car with her SUV. Helene Seeman was killed in the accident and her husband was seriously injured. Locane was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in November 2012 and was sentenced to three years in prison. The judge gave down the minimum sentence to Locane due to her daughter’s poor health, although the family called it a “travesty” that the sentence was so short. Locane is eligible for parole on 12th June 2015.
On 18th July 1969, US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, known as Ted Kennedy, was involved in an accident in Chappaquiddick near Edgartown in Massachusetts. The accident would become known as the “Chappaquiddick Incident”. Kennedy was hosting a party for some friends when one of the guests, Mary Jo Kopechne, asked for a lift back to her hotel. She didn’t tell anyone that she was leaving the party, and she left her bag and hotel key there. Kennedy claimed he had taken a wrong turn before the car slipped from the side of the Dike Bridge. The car landed upside down and Kennedy managed to escape the car. He also claimed that he made several attempts to dive down and save Kopechne. It was not until the next morning, 9 hours after the accident, that Kennedy reported it to the police. Kopechne had suffocated in the car as she had found an air pocket at the back of the car. She was alive for around 3 hours after the crash, and if the police had been informed straight away Kopechne could have been rescued within 30 minutes. Kennedy was given a two-month suspended sentence.
Anjelica Huston’s father, John Huston, struck and killed a female pedestrian while driving on Sunset Boulevard with his car on 25th September 1933. The Grand Jury cleared him of any wrongdoing and Huston was never charged with the woman’s death. Huston was left deeply traumatised after the accident and left Hollywood for London and Paris to paint for several years before returning to directing and acting.