Ken Norton, the former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, was listed in stable but serious condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Monday after he suffered a fractured skull and a broken jaw in a traffic accident late Sunday night.
Norton, 40, was injured at about 11 p.m. Sunday night when his 1978 Clenet Excalibur went off the side of the Santa Monica freeway near Vermont Avenue, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol said. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, and there were no witnesses.
Traffic investigators told a wire service that Norton's car hit a curb on the on-ramp, ricocheted and hit another curb before going over the edge of the roadway, CHP officer Manuel Avila said.
"The accident is still under investigation." CHP Sergeant James Kennedy said. "But we don't have any indication that alcohol or drugs were involved."
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday February 26, 1986 Home Edition Sports Part 3 Page 9 Column 1 Sports Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Ken Norton, former heavyweight boxing champion, was driving a Clenet Series One Sunday night when he was involved in a single-car accident on the Santa Monica freeway near Vermont Avenue. Wire-service reports had him driving another type of car.
Norton, who along with Jack Rodri, formed Ken Norton Personal Management Co, represented the Rams' Eric Dickerson during the running back's holdout last season.
Norton, who fought 50 times and won 42, was taken to California Medical Center and was transferred to Cedars-Sinai at 3:30 a.m.
He underwent surgery for a little more than three hours Monday to repair the skull fracture and the broken jaw, a hospital spokesman said.
"He came through surgery very well and is in the recovery room," said Ron Wise, a spokesman for Cedars-Sinai. "He's still listed in serious but stable condition. We'll probably upgrade his condition to fair within the next 24 hours. The outlook is good."
Norton, whose son, Ken Norton III, played on UCLA's football team last season, will be moved into a private room and is expected to be hospitalized for two weeks, Wise added.
Rodri said he was with Norton just before the accident.
"Ken and I spent the evening at a function with Mayor Bradley at the Biltmore Hotel," Rodri said. "He (Norton) didn't drink and he was in good spirits when I left him. He was totally alert.