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Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Breaks Neck in Car Crash

August 27, 1996| From a Times Staff Writer

MISSION VIEJO — Actor Jan-Michael Vincent was hospitalized with a broken neck Monday after rear-ending his girlfriend's Cadillac and hitting a traffic signal, authorities said.

Sheriff's officials said Vincent, 52, was following his girlfriend, 28-year-old Nicole Wallace, to her mother's house at Lake Mission Viejo when his 1988 Mazda rear-ended her 1985 Cadillac. Vincent then spun out of control and struck a traffic signal.

Wallace and her two sons, ages 5 and 6, were not injured in the accident, authorities said.

Vincent and Wallace live a short distance from the scene of the accident.

The extent of Vincent's injuries were unknown Monday, but a sheriff's spokeswoman said they were "non-life threatening." He was reported to be in the intensive care unit with a broken neck.

With his tough demeanor and bad-boy eyes, Vincent, who most recently co-starred in the low-budget 1995 film, "The Ice Cream Man," won roles playing men with an edge, misunderstood except by the women who love them. His career has been hampered by off-camera problems, including substance abuse and arrests for domestic violence.

Vincent played opposite Kim Basinger in "Defiance" (1981), but by the early '80s changing tastes, plus Vincent's already emerging penchant for substance abuse and trouble, had hurt his film career.

In 1984, CBS made him a series star with "Airwolf," in which Vincent piloted a state-of-the-art helicopter while doing good deeds and searching for his missing brother. The show lasted until the end of the 1986 season; its demise partly was due to the star's cocaine abuse.

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