Nickelodeon star Drake Bell is no doubt embracing the new year, following a near-death scare in the waning moments of 2005.
The teen star of Drake & Josh suffered a fractured neck among a litany of injuries after a head-on car collision Thursday night in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old actor, who costars with Josh Peck as high school-aged opposites and soon-to-be stepbrothers navigating the perils of teendom, was in the left turn lane of the Pacific Coast Highway when a Mercedes slammed into the actor's 1966 Ford Mustang.
Bell was immediately rushed to Santa Monica Hospital, where he was visited by costar Peck. He was then transferred to the UCLA Medical Center and treated for a fractured neck, a broken jaw, facial lacerations requiring 70 stitches and several knocked-out teeth, per TMZ.com. The injuries were not said to be life-threatening and Bell has since been released from the hospital, but he reportedly faces a long convalescence, including dental and plastic surgery.
Still, the actor says he is moving toward a quick recovery. In a statement issued to TMZ.com by the show's executive producer Dan Schneider, Bell says he "appreciates all the calls and support...He thanks everyone for all their thoughts and prayers and hopes to be back in production soon."
Fans have been rushing to the Web to offer their support and wishes for a speedy recovery.
"Drake, I really hope you're OK," a fan named actress 102 writes on the Nickelodeon message boards. "You're my favorite singer and actor."
"I hope you get better and eat lots of chicken noodle soup and I will pray for you until you get better," adds rac56.
"I hope you r all right," says kyle1018. "And I hope you will still be on Drake & Josh."
The network and Drake & Josh producers haven't immediately commented on the show's future in the wake of the accident. Season four had commenced shooting, with a handful of episodes in the can.
But Bell has a positive attitude about getting back to work. "Not to worry, Drake & Josh will return," he said in his statement.
Aside from his role as guitar-playing slacker Drake Parker on Drake & Josh, Bell previously starred on Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show and appeared on Seinfeld, The Drew Carrey Show and Home Improvement. He also recently costarred in the Dennis Quaid-Rene Russo flick Yours, Mine & Ours.
His first album, Telegraph, was released in September.