September 30, 1955
James Dean is killed at the age of 24 in a car crash
Dean and his Porsche-trained mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, were speeding at approximately 85mph in a 55mph zone when they collided almost directly head-on with a young man driving a Ford Tudor coupe. The crash caused extensive damage to Dean who was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Wütherich suffered a broken jaw as well as injuries to his hip and femur which required immediate medical attention. The driver of the coupe received slight injuries including a bloodied nose and bruises to the face.
Dean’s reported last words were “That guy’s gotta stop… He’ll see us,” though the statement has largely been considered conjecture as Wütherich has very limited memories leading up to the crash. Another legend of Dean’s crash involves a man who is often reported to be Dean’s severed head (seen in this photo on the ground between the car and the man in the dark shirt). However, Dean was not decapitated. Additionally the man in the picture is clearly looking at the other men and can be seen moving his head in other photographs. The head in question likely either belongs to Wütherich before being taken to the hospital or someone examining the crash.