Nick's passenger John Graziano lives, but he's a vegetable
Nick Hogan was involved in a serious accident in Clearwater, Florida, on the evening of August 26, 2007 at around 7:31pm ET. Nick and three members of the pit crew for his drifting team were using two of his father's cars — a yellow Toyota Supra and a silver Dodge Viper — to travel to a steakhouse when the single-vehicle crash occurred at Court St. and Missouri Ave., near downtown Clearwater.
The yellow Supra, which Nick had been driving in the outside lane, fishtailed and spun across the road, crashing into the median strip and into a palm tree. The impact of the collision "destroyed the entire car". The posted speed limit on that stretch of road was 40 mph, but a reconstruction of the crash by police shows that the Supra was traveling "in excess of 60 mph".
Danny Jacobs — the pit crew member driving the silver Viper — told police that the speed of the two cars was "not more than 70". Barry Lawrence, his passenger, said that the supra was traveling "at or near 100 miles per hour" when it crashed. "
After the crash, Nick told medical workers and members of the drifting community that wet roads were the cause of his crash. Viper passenger and pit crew member Barry Lawrence told police that they were "speeding around" and added that Nick and Danny "always drive like that."
After the crash, Jacobs and Lawrence drove to the Bollea family residence to inform Nick's father of the crash. They then returned to the scene of the accident, where they were interviewed by police. Nick and his passenger, 22-year-old John Graziano, were flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Nick was released from care on 27 August and said to be "OK". Graziano, a U.S. Marine and a former member of Nick's pit crew, was not wearing a seatbelt and received major head trauma as a result of the accident. The eye and brain injuries he sustained are expected to leave him in a nursing home the rest of his life.
Hogan was charged with several violations, including a felony. He turned himself in to authorities at 9:48 a.m. on Wednesday, November 7, 2007. Police in Clearwater issued a warrant for his arrest upon completion of an "extensive investigation" of the wreck by a team of four officers. Because he is being charged as an adult, Nick was booked on the charges at the Pinellas County Jail. He was released within hours on $10,000 bail.
Bollea was charged with reckless driving involving serious bodily injury (a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison plus fines), use of a motor vehicle in commission of a felony, a person under the age of 21 operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher, and illegal window tint. Two hours after the wreck, Nick's ethanol serum level was 0.055.
Police believe that Nick Bollea and Danny Jacobs were speeding prior to the crash of the Supra. And both have been charged with reckless driving. Nick's father has said that the cars were not racing, but this contradicts police interviews with eyewitnesses to the crash.
Frances Vitalis was in traffic the Supra and the Viper, and told the media that the two cars were revving their engines and racing between traffic signals prior to the crash. The official police report says that the two cars were racing, but that the actions of Jacobs were not a direct cause of the accident.
Nick's lawyer has insisted that the accident was not the result of speeding, emphasizing that Bollea was wearing a seatbelt and Graziano was not. Bollea's lawyer has released a video which he claims will disprove the police allegation that Nick was driving at least 50% faster than the posted speed limit.
The family of John Graziano has announced that they are preparing a civil suit against the Bolleas to pay for John's continuing medical care.