Guy Fieri recalls being falsely accused of drunk driving after 'horrific' fatal car accident

Guy Fieri is opening up about a tragic moment that changed his life forever.

The Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host, 55, revealed on Tuesday's episode of the Now What? with Brooke Shields podcast that he was once falsely accused of drunk driving and causing a fatal car accident while he was a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"I was in a fatality car accident when I was 19 when I was in college," he recalled. "I wasn't driving, I was in the backseat. And, unfortunately, I was with a bunch of guys and… we were drinking."

guy fieri
guy fieri

John Lamparski/Getty Images Guy Fieri

Fieri explained that he and the rest of the car's occupants had been watching drag boat races and were headed to a nearby campsite when the accident occurred.

"This guy saw a cop and he was drinking. We were camping a half a mile way. And he took off and we got chased and the car flipped. And the guy next to me was killed. It was horrific," he said. "Everybody was messed up. And I had to go Flight for Life in the helicopter and the whole thing."

When he woke up, Fieri said, he was "in the hospital handcuffed to the gurney" because "everybody in that car [was] saying that I was the one who was driving."

Fieri, who admitted he'd "lived a little fast and hard" until that point, said that he had to notify his parents and get an attorney in the aftermath of the incident. "They came to the college and arrested me in my dorm room," he told host Brooke Shields. "It was going bad after worse because everybody was saying that I was, you know… Anyhow, the cops knew I wasn't [at fault]."

His father, Lewis James Ferry, also issued his own word of warning to his son afterward. Fieri recalled, "My dad told me, 'Cut the sh--. 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.'"

These days, the restaurateur said that he uses the traumatic experience as an important lesson for his two sons going forward.

"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 said. "You have to be the master of your domain. You have to be in control of your environment."

He also noted the moment changed his perspective on life. "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," he said. "And if I do that then I have a better chance at getting through this."

Listen to Fieri discuss the accident — and the loss of his sister Morgan Fieri – in the podcast episode above.

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