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Gary Busey Recalls Harley-Davidson Crash That Killed Him, a Chat With Angels

Gary Busey is unlike any of the young actors today. A former hellraiser, cocaine-fiend, and a fascinating and sometimes intimidating presence, he is also a fierce campaigner for mandatory helmets for bikers.
Gary Busey crashed his Harley in 1988, suffered considerable brain damage because he wasn't wearing a helmet 4 photos
Jason Momoa takes his custom Knucklehead out for a rideJason Momoa takes his custom Knucklehead out for a rideJason Momoa takes his custom Knucklehead out for a ride
That last part is no coincidence. In 1988, he crashed his Harley-Davidson in downtown Los Angeles and hit his head on the pavement, an incident he recalls in a new interview with The Guardian. Busey is promoting a new reality show, in which he acts as judge ruling over disputes over pets. The idea is ridiculous, but the story he tells to promote the show is anything but.

Busey’s entire life changed after the crash. He had to have brain surgery for subdural haematoma, which left him in a coma for days and was followed by brain damage so severe it took him years to learn how to walk and talk again. Today, many of his mannerisms are due to the brain damage, though he likes to say he has “a brain disordered in a better direction” because of how he was able to turn his life around.

The accident alone didn’t do it: Busey says he also had a chat with a bunch of angels after he died.

“About 25 years ago, I had an accident on a Harley-Davidson,” Busey says. “I went off the bike without a helmet, hit my head into a curb, split my skull, passed away after brain surgery and went to the other side – the spiritual realm where I got information. And I came back, and these messages, these definitions, came to me first-class.”

Three angels came to him and asked him whether he wanted to accompany them or go back on Earth, to finish what he’d started. He chose the latter, realizing he still had stuff to do.

The arguably silly story doesn’t take away from the fact that Busey did do great things once he recovered from the accident. He met then-President Bill Clinton and helped create the Brain Injury Act, which paved the way for mandatory helmets for bike drivers and passengers. For this and for the way the accident changed his life, Busey says he wouldn’t change anything about it if he could go back in time.


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