On this day in auto history - November 18th

Wed 18th Nov 2020

It was on this day in 1954 that superstar entertainer Sammy Davis Jnr narrowly cheated death after a horrific car accident on the outskirts of San Bernardino, California.

The world-famous Rat Pack member was driving back to Los Angeles in the early hours after appearing in a show at Las Vegas the previous night when he careered his customised black Cadillac straight into a rock pylon.

The impact of the crash had driven Davis Jnr’s face into the steering wheel with such force that his left eye was forced out of its socket, whilst he also broke facial bones and his left knee-cap in the smash which also badly injured his passenger, valet Charlie Head.

Following complex surgery to remove his left eye, Davis Jnr spent 10 days in hospital and wore an eyepatch for the next six months before he was fitted with a glass eye which he wore for the rest of his life.

Many commentators believe that the publicity from the accident marked the turning point in Davis Jnr’s career, elevating him from well-known entertainer into international celebrity.