Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, recently sat down with Brooke Shields on her podcast, “Now What? with Brooke Shields,” and he reflected on a traumatic experience in his life. When he was younger, he was falsely accused of drunk driving and causing fatalities while he was a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The memories have stayed with him ever since, and he has turned the event into a learning experience for both himself and his family.
Fieri was accused of causing a fatal car accident
Fieri explained, “I was in a fatality car accident when I was 19 when I was in college. I wasn’t driving, I was in the backseat. And, unfortunately, I was with a bunch of guys and… we were drinking.” He and his friends had some beverages while watching drag boat races nearby. They made the poor decision to drive to a campsite while under the influence, leading to the fatal accident.
“This guy saw a cop and he was drinking. We were camping a half a mile [away]. And he took off and we got chased and the car flipped. And the guy next to me was killed. It was horrific,” Fieri recalled. “Everybody was messed up. And I had to go Flight for Life in the helicopter and the whole thing.”
Fieri lost consciousness after the accident, and when he woke up, he was “in the hospital handcuffed to the gurney” because “everybody in that car [was] saying that I was the one who was driving.”
His father gave him some stern words
He had to call his parents and tell them of what happened, and also contacted an attorney to deal with the claims that he was responsible for the accident. “They came to the college and arrested me in my dorm room,” he explained. “It was going bad after worse because everybody was saying that I was, you know… Anyhow, the cops knew I wasn’t [responsible].”
In the end, Fieri wasn’t charged with anything. However, his father, Lewis Ferry, had a very serious conversation with his son after the accident. ” My dad told me, ‘Cut the [expletive]. You’re not invincible. This is for real now. You’re not in your hometown anymore. You’re in Las Vegas. You’re big time. You got to focus.'”
Fieri took those words and that experience and made the responsible decision to slow down a life that he “lived a little fast and hard and wild.”
Fieri uses his experiences to teach his children
In addition to applying the traumatic experience to his own life, he also uses it to serve as a lesson for his children. “It’s things I teach my kids all the time. Don’t trust anybody to drive you. Don’t trust what anybody puts in a drink and gives it to you. Don’t trust if anybody tells you that this is safe or this is smart,” he explained. “You have to be the master of your domain. You have to be in control of your environment.”
The accident really changed his perception of his life. He took time to reflect on where he was and said, “I was like, ‘Okay, my family didn’t have any money. I’m not the smartest kid.’ Didn’t get the best grades. But if I’m going to win, I’m going to win based upon how hard I play and how disciplined I am and how driven and how controlled I am. And if I do that then I have a better chance at getting through this.”