The 17-year-old son of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan has been arrested on reckless driving charges. Police in Clearwater, Florida say Nick Bollea turned himself in on November 7 on charges stemming from a street-racing crash which critically injured a passenger in his car.
The Tampa Tribune reported Bollea arrived at the Pinellas County Jail handcuffed and accompanied by two police officers. Clearwater Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts said Bollea was arrested on charges of reckless driving involving serious bodily injury. "Because Nick is still a juvenile and has no prior criminal record, we are disappointed that he is being charged as an adult offender. However, we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate that this was an accident," family spokesman Adam Handelsman said in a written statement. The statement also sought to discredit reports that Bollea caused the crash by speeding, saying preliminary expert reports indicated that it was not a high-speed accident.
Police said Bollea was racing his father's 1998 Toyota Supra against a Dodge Viper driven by a friend on August 26. Bollea's car reportedly struck a curb, spun across two lanes of traffic, and slammed rear-end first against a palm tree. Bollea, who was wearing a seat belt, was not critically injured. His passenger, 22-year-old John Graziano, was not wearing a seat belt and suffered a broken skull. He has been comatose at Bayfront Medical Center, according to medical professionals who examined him and submitted reports on his condition to court.
One doctor reportedly stated that Graziano would likely spend the rest of his life in a nursing home.
Authorities also cited Bollea for using a motor vehicle in commission of a felony, being a driver under age 21 while operating a vehicle with a breath-alcohol level of .02 percent or higher, and having illegal window tinting. Blood drawn two hours after the accident showed Bollea's blood-alcohol content at 0.055 percent. The blood-alcohol level at which Florida law presumes an adult driver to be impaired is .08 percent.
In a statement released on their client's behalf, Bollea's lawyers Sandy Weinberg Jr. and Kevin Hayslett said "Nick will meet and answer these charges in the appropriate arena: a court of law."
Police said Bollea posted $10,000 bond and was seen leaving with his father and his mother, Linda. None of them spoke to reporters.
The Viper's driver, 22-year-old Daniel Jacobs, did not directly cause the crash but was summoned to court for a reckless driving charge. Bollea appears on VH-1's Hogan Knows Best reality series.