America celebrates Matthew Broderick for starring in cult classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but the star is not so well remembered in other parts of the world. Back in August of 1987, Matthew Broderick committed manslaughter while traveling through Northern Ireland, a fact that is often swept under the rug when mentions of Broderick crop up.
At the time of the incident, Broderick was vacationing with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey (who plays Broderick's sister in Ferris Bueller's Day Off). The two decided to squeeze in the trip after Broderick finished filming Biloxi Blues and before Grey began making publicity rounds for Dirty Dancing.
Broderick was responsible for an incident involving a car that took the lives of two women. Even after the event had been reported, Broderick was never convicted of vehicular manslaughter, however, prompting outrage from the victims' friends and family. Life moves pretty fast, and if you're not careful, your fame might just lead to something unfortunate.
Broderick Sustained A Sizable Injury
After the incident, Broderick was rushed to Erne Hospital, along with the two women. As a result of the wreck, Broderick's face was cut up, and his leg was badly broken.
“We had to cut the side away from the American’s car to give him first aid,” a member of the local fire brigade told People. “His main concern was for the people in the other car,” he added.
“He kept saying ‘Did I hurt them? Did I hurt them?'" Grey was the luckiest of the bunch, and walked away with a few bruises.
Broderick Remained In The Hospital For A Month
After Broderick had been stabilized, he was eventually transferred to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, where he stayed for about a month. There, the actor was charged with reckless driving, an offense that is accompanied by a hefty prison sentence.
Broderick was eventually allowed to return to the United States, but only after paying $4,075 in bail.
Broderick Was Charged With “Careless Driving,” A Relatively Minor Offense
Though Broderick potentially faced up to 10 years in prison – five years for each death – the star got off a lot easier than that. Broderick was convicted of careless driving, but was only ordered to pay a $175 fine. All told, the star was ordered to pay less than $5,000 for the transgression.
At no point during the proceedings was Broderick charged with vehicular manslaughter, and the victims’ family called the ruling “a travesty of justice.”
Broderick Made Amends With The Family Years Later
When the accident first occurred, it took Broderick about a month to be discharged from the hospital. When the star was up and walking again, he didn't immediately reach out to make peace with the two women's family.
“There was a note after the accident from him saying how sorry he was – but no other contact,” a relative of the two women involved told the New York Post. Fifteen years later, Broderick reached out to the family again, only this time he wanted to meet in person. The family reportedly looked forward to the meeting, and insisted that “there are no bad feelings from us.”
Regardless of his initial response, it's clear that the accident left its mark on Broderick's psyche. Around the time of the proposed meeting, Broderick told Best magazine that it was very challenging from him to come to terms with the ordeal, adding that he had attended therapy in an attempt to cope.