A Brief History
On July 29, 1973, British race car driver Roger Williamson met his death when his Formula 1 race car crashed at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Many other famous and infamous people have died in car wrecks, and we ask you to tell us which wreck you believe is the most famous, giving you a list of some of the notable wrecks to choose from:
General George Patton, 1945
24 Hours at LeMans Race, 1955 (84 people died!)
James Dean, actor, 1955
Jayne Mansfield, actress, 1967
Ted Kennedy, Senator, Chappaquiddick, 1969
Harry Chapin, singer, 1981
Princess Grace, actress, royalty, 1982
Billy Martin, baseball manager, 1989
Sam Kinison, comedian, 1992
Princess Diana, royalty, 1997
Dale Earnhardt, race car driver, 2001
Paul Walker, actor, 2013
Note: Per reader/viewer input, race car driver Ayrton Senna is now included on this list, a three time Formula One champion until his untimely death at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
You are welcome to include any other famous/infamous car wreck in your nominations for the “most famous” car wreck.
Question for students (and subscribers): Who do you believe is the most famous person to ever die in an automobile accident? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Damore, Leo. Chappaquiddick: Power, Privilege, and the Ted Kennedy Cover-Up. Regnery History, 2018.
Golden, Eve. Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It. University Press of Kentucky, 2021.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Rob Mieremet of the scene of Williamson’s fatal accident as Gijs van Lennep passes, an image from the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, and Spaarnestad Photo, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands license.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.