Just what’s going on?
By now you might have already read about how Jay Leno hit a hop car while making his first stage appearance after spending a while in the hospital from burns sustained while working on a car. The news is everywhere, but what you might not have seen the best angle of the incident. To help you better understand what happened for yourself, I’ve included two videos from two angles, that way you can better grasp what I’m about to say.
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Really, this incident calls into question a lot of things. I’m not a doctor, I don’t know Jay Leno (and don’t claim to, unlike many of my colleagues who got their photo taken with him at an event, which doesn’t count as truly “knowing” someone) so I’m not running cover for a friend or trashing someone I have a personal vendetta against. That said, I know what incompetent driving looks like and Leno displayed it in full during the incident.
First off, for such a hardcore car guy, Leno should’ve easily been able to judge the size of the Tesla he was driving, the position of the parked police Jeep Wrangler, then pulled into the curbside spot without getting even a little too close to the other vehicle. Instead, this was like watching Joe Biden trying to drive his Corvette today – a completely terrifying ordeal.
The video which is taken from just in front of the Jeep gives us a great perspective of the fender bender, while the second video I’ve included was shot from the other side of the street and makes seeing what happened more difficult. That first video shows clearly that after making impact Leno kept driving until he was completely clear of the police vehicle, almost like he didn’t notice right away.
Then the truly disturbing thing happened: he backed up into the Wrangler a second time. Why would he do that? Why would anyone reverse into a car they just struck? Sure, it seems to be a glancing strike, but you can hear what almost sounds like the crunching and scraping of metal on metal. Plus, the collision was enough to jostle the back end of the rather heavy electric car. Anyone driving should notice such a thing immediately, not reverse and do it again.
Fortunately, the officers standing right there stopped the comedian and told him to just pull forward. By then it was too late to prevent the second collision. One must question had this not been a celebrity what would the consequences of the accident have been? There’s a good shot a field sobriety test would have been administered on the spot, and possibly more. See, fame does have its advantages.
If I’m going to really nit-pick his driving, I’ll point out that pulling nose-first into street parking is a completely amateur move. There’s a reason you’re supposed to back into parallel parking spots. One would think Leno, who’s a huge car guy, would be a master at this. Maybe he is, but in that moment he didn’t demonstrate that. And that really makes me stop and think.
Leno finally backed into the spot, but not without a curious amount of difficulty. The spot was large enough to easily accommodate the Tesla, maybe two of them, so had he judged distances correctly he probably could’ve been able to pull in nose-first without much of a problem.
Maybe the guy was nervous at that point, after all he hit a cop car twice. He then backed into the spot super slowly but his angle was way too obtuse so he almost hit the curb. Bystanders helped direct the poor guy, which seemed to have helped him make the necessary corrections. Still, this is very odd behavior for such a huge gearhead.
After parking, Leno stepped out and is on point, cracking a joke about how “the Elephant Man is here.” He seems pretty much like his regular old self. Still, his behavior behind the wheel is troubling. After that he cracked another joke about Flamin’ Hot Doritos and confirmed with the police he only hit their tire, which they said he could “figure out” later. If only everyone got that kind of treatment.
The damage to the Tesla seems negligible in the shaky camera footage as people continued to say it was a tire-on-tire impact. While it’s great neither vehicle was seriously damaged or maybe not damaged at all, one has to question if Leno is completely okay? He’s no spring chicken at 72 and he went through a pretty horrific experience not that long ago, so I’m hoping the answer is yes.
Images via YouTube