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Infamous Limo Accident

Limousines tend to turn heads no matter who is driving, but when the streets are closed off and the chauffeur is allowed to run red lights, you can be sure there is an important political figure in the back of their limo. This was the case in 1975 when President Gerald Ford's limousine was involved in an accident in Hartford.

As the President's limousine was racing towards the airport, police motorcyclists had blocked of the intersections ahead to allow for a quick passage, however, they had neglected to close off one street, where nineteen year old James Salamites saw only a green light telling him all was clear. It wasn't until he had broadsided the President's limousine which had appeared to run a red light that he realised what had happened.

Salamites was driving a few of his friends in his mother's car, a Buick LeSabre when the accident occurred and when he looked into the passenger window of the limousine he had hit he couldn't believe his eyes. Unfortunately for Salamites, the accident occurred shortly after two failed attempts on the President's life.

Unfortunate because after a simple road accident Salamites was confronted with Secret Service officers drawing their guns on him, and him and his friends spending several hours at the police station convincing the officers they were not trying to harm the President.

However, the accident wasn't all bad and soon after the infamous Buick and its teenage driver were stars. The Buick was a coveted attraction at the 1976 car show in Hartford, and Salamites signed dozens of autographs during his '15 minutes of fame'. Of course, as with any infamy, the hype soon dies down but Salamites admits he is glad the accident happened over 30 years ago because the press and the paparazzi probably would have dogged him even more now than they did them, and are likely to have done more than camp outside of his parent's house for a few days.

However, in the time since the accident, James Salamites is proud to have had no other accidents and to have slipped quietly back into his normal life.

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