Actor Jan-Michael Vincent in Critical Condition

He crashes his car, possibly while driving under the influence

By Marcus Errico Aug 27, 1996 7:00 PMTags
Jan-Michael Vincent, known for his bad-boy act on and off the screen, is in serious but stable condition at a Southern California hospital today, having broken his neck after smashing his Mazda into his girlfriend's Cadillac Monday night. Doctors are hopeful he will recover.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department says that Vincent is being investigated for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. "There was an odor of alcohol on his breath," said Lt. Ron Wilkerson. The 52-year-old actor has a history of cocaine and alcohol abuse, which reportedly contributed to the cancellation of his CBS-TV series Airwolf in 1986 and sent his career into B-action-movie oblivion.

Vincent, who last starred in the low budget The Ice Cream Man in 1995, was following his girlfriend Nicole Wallace to her mother's house when he lost control of his car and rear-ended her Cadillac before careening into a traffic light.

Doctors said Tuesday that his spinal cord appears to be intact and there is no sign of paralysis. The 28-year-old Wallace and two her sons, ages 5 and 6, were not injured.

Vincent's tough-guy persona off camera led to several run-ins with the law. He was sued last year for $5 million by a woman who claimed to live with Vincent and said he pummeled and kicked her in the abdomen, causing a miscarriage. In 1994, the actor's wife, Joanne Robinson Vincent, obtained a restraining order against him, claiming years of physical and sexual abuse. He was also arrested for drug possession in 1988 and convicted in 1983 of drunk driving.