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Guy Fieri said he was falsely accused of a fatal drunk driving crash when he was 19

Anneta Konstantinides   

Guy Fieri said he was falsely accused of a fatal drunk driving crash when he was 19
  • Guy Fieri said he was falsely accused of drunk driving when he was 19.
  • Fieri said he was a passenger in the car crash and that the person next to him got killed.

Guy Fieri has spoken out about an experience that he said completely changed his perspective on life.

While appearing on the "Now What? with Brooke Shields" podcast on Tuesday, Fieri said he had been falsely accused of a fatal drunk-driving accident when he was studying hospitality management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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

Fieri said he and the group had been watching drag boat races and were headed to a nearby campsite when the driver — who the Food Network star said had also been drinking — saw a cop.

"He took off and we got chased and the car flipped," Fieri said in the podcast. "And the guy next to me was killed. It was horrific. Everybody was messed up."

Fieri said he was airlifted to a nearby hospital and was "handcuffed to the gurney" when he woke up. Fieri said the other members in the car were in the military together and had claimed he was the one who had been driving. Fieri said he was later arrested in his dorm room and had to tell his parents and get an attorney.

Fieri told Shields that the police knew he hadn't been driving and the charges were cleared, but that his father told him to "cut the shit."

"You're not invincible," Fieri said his father told him. "This is for real now. You're not in your hometown anymore. You're in Las Vegas. You got to focus."

Representatives for Fieri, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The Food Network star said the accident was a turning point for him

"I was like, OK, my family didn't have any money. I'm not the smartest kid. Didn't get the best grades," Fieri said. "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 controlled I am. And if I do that, then I have a better chance at getting through this."

Fieri said it's a lesson he's passed down to his two sons, Hunter and Ryder.

"It's things I teach my kids all the time," he told Shields. "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."

"You have to be the master of your domain," he added. "You have to be in control of your environment."

In a previous interview, Fieri told People that he made Ryder drive his parents' used Chrysler minivan to school when he first got his license to teach him how to be self-sufficient.

"I'm not buying Ryder a car, and I refuse to let him buy a car until he spends one year with no tickets, no accidents, driving the minivan," Fieri said during the September 2022 interview. "Prove that you've got it all together. Then you can take your own money out of the bank and go buy a car."

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