Celebrities who have died in car crashes bring about a lot of media attention. Fans are shocked to learn their favorite celebrity has died in such a horrible way. Some may even try to imagine what it was like for their favorite celebrity in their final moments and look for all available information concerning the accident, which isn’t hard to do these days.
The world has lost some of its most beloved celebrities through car accidents, celebrities like 1950s blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, actor James Dean, Princess Diana, Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), and TLC‘s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Even though years have passed since they died, there remains a fascination with the deaths of these celebrities.
According to statistics provided by law firm Edgar Snyder & Associates someone is killed in a car crash every 12 minutes. That is 40,000 lost lives every year. Car accidents are the leading cause of death in those between the ages of two and 34. Car accidents don’t discriminate and has the potential to affect anyone; rich or poor, average Joe or celebrity.
Jayne Mansfield was a ’50s sex symbol and mother of ‘Law & Order: SVU‘ star Mariska Hargitay. She was also a 1957 Golden Globe winner for her role in ‘The Wayward Bus‘. Mansfield was rumored to have had affairs with Kennedy brothers John and Robert as well as other high profile men.
In the early morning hours of June 29, 1967, the 1966 Buick Electra 225 Jayne Mansfield and her young children were riding in along with Ron Harrison in the drivers seat and Mansfield’s boyfriend Samuel S. Brody, ran into the back end of an insecticide truck while en route to New Orleans. It’s believed the car was traveling upwards of 80 mph. The children – Miklos, Zoltan, and Mariska – survived with only minor injuries; 34 year old Mansfield, Brody, and Harrison were all killed instantly.
Media reported the blonde bombshell was decapitated. However, according to Snopes.com, the police report stated “the upper portion of this white female’s head was severed” and her death certificate notes she suffered a “crushed skull with avulsion (forcible separation or detachment) of cranium or brain.” This is a far cry from a decapitation.
This ‘Rebel Without a Cause‘ and ‘Giant‘ actor had a promising future in the movie business. At the time, he had become more popular than Marlon Brando and was a spokesperson for the teen generation. But Dean had a need for speed and bought himself a Porsche 550 Spyder.
On the afternoon of September 30, 1955, Dean and Rolph Weutherich headed out for an auto rally in Salinas, California. He was speeding when a police officer pulled him over for doing 65 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. Told to slow down, James Dean went on his way. The pair headed towards Cholame, California, but fate would meet them head-on.
Another driver made a left turn at the intersection of Highway 41 and the current State Route 46 bringing him into the path of the Porsche Spyder carrying James Dean and his friend. The Porsche hit the other vehicle head-on and Dean’s passenger was thrown from the car. Weutherich survived with head injuries and a broken leg. Dean wasn’t so lucky and sustained fatal injuries. Dean was almost decapitated, suffered a broken neck, had multiple fractures in the upper and lower jaw, internal injuries, and both arms had fractures.
James Dean was just 24 years old and was instantly propelled to iconic status after his death.
Diana was truly the people’s princess. She was a humanitarian who cared about all people no matter who they were or where they came from. Many would compare her to Sister Theresa and its no wonder the world loved her.
According to CNN, one of the princess’s last humanitarian acts was in early August 1997. Diana traveled to Bosnia to speak out against land mines, visited victims of land mines, and spoke with rehabilitation specialists.
It was early morning on August 31, 1997, that I woke up to the news the beloved Princess Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris’ Alma tunnel. Henri Paul was driving the car carrying the princess, her boyfriend Dodi al-Fayed, and Trevor Reed-Jones.
The Mercedes she was riding in was reportedly speeding when it entered the tunnel in an attempt to evade paparazzi. Some argue there were no paparazzi.
At some point, Henri Paul veered the car to the right in an attempt to pass a car ahead of them; he lost control and crashed into the wall of the tunnel. When Paul tried to correct, the car slammed into the reinforced concrete dividing pillars. The car ricocheted and spun before coming to a stop.
Inside the mangled Mercedes were the lifeless bodies of Dodi al-Fayed and Henri Paul. Trevor Reed-Jones was seriously injured, and Princess Diana was barely alive, having sustained injuries that would claim her life at the age of 36.
Although it’s been several years since the princess died, many are adamant something sinister was at play. Regardless of what really happened that fateful night, the fact remains that the world lost an icon.
Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly):
As an actress, Grace Kelly was talented and beautiful. She had grace and was very elegant. However, she was troubled in her personal life having left a successful career in Hollywood to marry a petulant prince. The princess and her youngest daughter, Stephanie, had been arguing about Stephanie’s future but it appeared the argument was winding down.
On the morning of September 13, 1982, Grace and her daughter were on their way home to Monaco from Roc Agel. The Land Rover seemingly went out of control as it negotiated hairpin turns and doors scraping the mountainside. As the vehicle approached a dangerous curve in the road, the Rover suddenly accelerated and went over the edge.
The Land Rover rolled down the steep embankment, hitting piles of rocks, and crushing the passenger door and roof. Princess Grace never touched the brakes. We would later learn that she suffered a heart attack while at the wheel which explains her erratic driving behavior. Princess Grace died of her injuries at a local hospital. She was 52 years old. Princess Stephanie came out of the wreckage with severe injuries but made a full recovery.
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes:
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was a member of hip-hop R & B trio TLC that formed in 1991. Lopes had her share of problems that included a 1994 incident in which she set fire to the mansion she shared with then boyfriend Andre Rison of the Atlanta Falcons. She ended up spending time in a halfway house and was placed on five years’ probation for the incident.
On the evening of April 25, 2002, Lopes and nine passengers were driving on a two-lane road in Honduras when they were involved in a head-on collision. Lopes, who was driving a rental car, lost control and the vehicle began rolling. Lopes was ejected and was thrown out a window. She died instantly from head trauma. She would have been 31 the following month.
Ironically, the camera was rolling at the time of the accident. The video and controversial autopsy photos are available online.
Car Accident Statistics, Edgar Snyder & Associates
snopes.com: Jayne Mansfield Decapitation
CNN – Diana takes anti-land mine crusade to Bosnia – August 8, 1997