Silver linings crashbook: a history of musicians and car accidents

Silver linings crashbook: a history of musicians and car accidents

The Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams firm has handled dozens of motor vehicle and motorcycle accident cases across the state of Washington. They’re a horrible thing to be subjected to, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that trying to find a silver lining is one of many potential coping mechanisms.

But rather than helping you find your silver lining, we’re going to stick to what this blog does best: poking fun of those who are just too famous to poke back.

A bad boy rockstar with fashion sense

As a man known for breaking the rules, it was no surprise that Billy Idol decided to blow through a stop sign while riding his Harley in downtown Hollywood on February 6th, 1990. That decision nearly cost him his life.

Even though Billy doesn’t play by anyone’s rules, riding without a helmet is totally legal in the state of California. Somehow, when he plowed into another car with his motorcycle he didn’t sustain any head injuries.

His leg however, was almost amputated -- which would’ve added a totally new angle to performances of Dancing With Myself.

Seeing as the woman driving the car Idol crashed into wasn’t injured, there was no lawsuit. Other than that, the only good to come out of all this, in Billy’s own words was, “Thank the (expletive deleted) I didn’t wear one of my favorite leather jackets. I just had this denim jacket on.”

Because if there’s one rule he does follow, it’s never scuff the leather.

Ice road trucker: Can’t stop, won’t stop

Also in 1990, Gloria Estefan’s tour bus was involved in a horrible accident in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Icy roads had caused an oncoming semi-truck to lose control and Estefan’s driver stopped to keep a safe distance.

The truck approaching from behind didn’t or couldn’t (if the driver’s testimony is to be believed) slow down and rear-ended Estefan’s bus.

The accident broke Gloria’s spine in multiple places and put her in physical therapy for six months while she learned how to walk with two 8-inch titanium rods in her back. Eventually, she involved a team of personal injury lawyers and the case was settled out of court for $9 million.

What silver lining could possibly accompany this tragedy? Other than inspiring her to raise $50+ million for spinal cord research...the rods in her back spared Estefan from countless airport security lines when traveling to her home country of Cuba.

It’s a Wonder he made it out alive

Another musician who suffered a horrible accident while on tour with his band was soul and funk musician Stevie Wonder. His group was traveling in three cars to the next performance in North Carolina, and Mr. Wonder was asleep in the front seat of the leading car. His driver was distracted by something and rear-ended the pickup truck in front of them.

The truck’s back-end came through the windshield and struck Stevie as his head snapped forward, leaving him comatose for four days. When he regained consciousness, he had lost his sense of taste and smell.

Supposedly, we have this accident to thank for “I just called to say I love you.” That, and he was spared from a large chunk of the culinary dark ages that were the ’70s (see: Ham and Bananas Hollandaise).

Father of the year takes a joyride

In 1996, Whitney Houston was married to singer/songwriter Bobby Brown. But at 7:30 AM on August 17th, Bobby was too busy racing his Porsche drunk and high on both cocaine and marijuana to give much thought to his wife and three-year-old daughter.

Thankfully, his joyride was brought to a halt by a street sign and some hedges rather than a bus full of schoolchildren. Brown sustained minor injuries, but couldn’t exactly blame the street sign for all the Grey Goose in his system, so there was no lawsuit.

Instead, Mr. Houston hired a different kind of lawyer to help him keep his hospital toxicology report out of the hands of police investigators. A task that he and his team succeeded at for more than three months.

But hey, that questionable legal tactic did mean his daughter had at least one Thanksgiving when her father’s mugshot wasn’t splashed across the TV…

Thankfully, our beautiful state has one of the lowest motor vehicle crash rates per capita in the country. The likelihood of getting run over by coked out musician on a 7 AM joyride is pretty slim in Renton, but if it does happen, BLW is the celebrity-obsessed firm for you.

If you’re involved in a celebrity-free accident, we can litigate that too. Just don’t expect a spot on this blog.