Weird History
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When Visiting Ireland In 1987, Matthew Broderick Accidentally Killed Two Women In A Car Wreck

Updated December 22, 2020 681.6k views10 items

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 May Have Been Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road

    In America, cars are required to drive on the right-hand side of the road, but in Ireland, cars stick to the left. While many travelers are able to adapt to this global inconsistency, not all are so lucky. 

    After Broderick ran off the road, many speculated that the mishap was caused by the star's confusion as to which side of the street he should be driving on. Both of the women who perished were Irish natives, so it stands to reason that they were intimately familiar with Irish driving laws. 

    When asked directly about what side of the road he remembers being on by People, Broderick's answer was vague at best: 

    "Nobody knows yet. I can’t talk about that too much.”

    While it's entirely possible that Broderick has no memory of what occurred, the way he frames it causes one to wonder whether the star's forgetfulness was spurred by legal motivations. 

  • The Duo Chose To Drive Around Ireland On A Rainy Day

    After flying into Northern Ireland, Broderick and Grey rented a BMW 316. On August 5, 1987, the stars began the drive from Irvinestown to Maguiresbridge. At some point along the way, they stopped at a gas station, got directions from a police officer, and it started raining.

    They got back on the road, but encountered a second downpour some time later. The couple stopped at yet another gas station, and when they got back on the road, the pavement was still noticeably slick from the earlier rains.

  • A Police Officer Described Broderick's Route As "Just Stupid"

    At approximately 3:00 in the afternoon, Broderick and Grey found themselves just outside Enniskillen, and slightly lost. To get back on track, they asked an off-duty policeman for directions.

    After listening to their tale, the officer informed them that the route they were on was “just stupid” and offered to lead them to a more sensible road. All kindness aside, Broderick wasn't interested in a change of plans, and the couple departed along their original route. The officer followed their car for a few miles, and noted that Broderick “wasn’t going fast.” He estimated that the car was moving less than 40 mph. 

  • The Women Who Perished Were On A Family Outing

    Broderick's two victims ended up being related to one another. Margaret Doherty, a 63-year-old widow, suffered from multiple sclerosis, and had been confined to a wheelchair for five years leading up to the event. 

    Her 28-year-old daughter, Anna Gallagher, lived just 45 miles away and would often come by to take her mother shopping. At the time, Gallagher and her husband had been hoping to start a family. Both passed at Erne Hospital.