Weird History
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This Playboy Model's Fatal Car Crash Was So Brutal It Changed Federal Law Forever

Updated September 23, 2021 889.1k views5 items
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On the evening of June 29, 1967, actress and Playboy model Jayne Mansfield was in a car driving down Interstate 90, heading west toward New Orleans, LA, after finishing a performance at a nightclub in Biloxi, MS. She was accompanied by three of her children—Mickey, Zoltan, and Mariska Hargitay—four Chihuahuas, her lawyer, and her personal driver. At just after 2 a.m., the group suddenly encountered a thick fog of insecticide spray drifting across the road. Upon rounding a dark corner of highway, their car slammed directly into the back of a slow-moving semi truck, killing all three adults in the front seat. 

The tragic death of yet another young Hollywood starlet brought with it a swarm of national media attention. The tragedy soon led to the implementation of new highway safety regulations, namely the requirement that large trucks be equipped with a DOT bar, more morbidly known as the "Mansfield bar."

The circumstances surrounding Mansfield's death seemed to be straightforward, but rumors quickly began to circulate about the beloved actress's true cause of death. Many asserted she had been decapitated in the crash and that a clump of blond hair seen tangled into the windshield of the car in crime scene photographs was, in fact, her head.

  • Mansfield's Three Children Survived The Crash

    The three adults in the front, including Mansfield, were killed on impact, while the children—Mickey, Zoltan, and Mariska Hargitay—miraculously survived the crash along with two of the chihuahuas. The kids were sleeping in the back seat, and since they were laying down, they missed the most devastating force of the crash.

    In the wake of the accident, Mickey and Zoltan have led quiet lives away from the spotlight, but Mariska followed in her mother's footsteps and became a well-known actress. Mariska has starred as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since 1999, and she still bears a scar from the crash.