It was April 10, 1992. Troubled comedian Sam Kinison had finally turned his life around. He found sobriety, had a new wife, and he was heading from his home in California, to perform in a sold-out show in Laughlin, Nevada.
He never made it to the show. Thirty miles from the show stage, on US Hwy 95, two young men were drinking alcohol while joyriding in an old pickup truck on the wrong side of the road. They collided head-on with Sam’s Trans-Am.
According to friends who watched the crash from a second car, Kinison at first appeared fine. With only minor cuts on his lips and forehead, he wrenched himself free of his mangled vehicle and would not lay down until his friends begged him to do so.
Witnesses said Sam was walking around, talking to someone who was not there. As if he was having a conversation from “above”. Sam Kinison was a former Pentecostal preacher. “He said, `I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’ ” recounted Carl LaBove, Kinison’s long-time opening act, who held Kinison’s bleeding head in his hands.
“Whatever voice was talking to him gave him the right answer and he just relaxed with it.” Kinison, who police say was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene, apparently of massive head injuries sustained when he hit the windshield.
The 38-year-old comedian, who had made his reputation as a hard-drinking, loud-mouthed wild man, had recently returned from his honeymoon with Malika, a 26-year-old Las Vegas dancer he had married only a week earlier. Malika sustained minor injuries and was released from the hospital the following day.
The Scene of the Accident
Where all this happened is about 75 miles south of Las Vegas, 40 miles past Searchlight, Nevada. On a long, lonely stretch of US Highway 95 just across the California border.
It happened at Milepost 4, There is not much there but some gravel and weeds. Not even a marker to show where it happened. According to various YouTubers, every time they try to erect a memorial, it gets stolen!
The driver of the pickup truck was 17-year-old Troy Pierson. Pierson pled guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. He was sentenced to one year of probation and 300 hours of community service and had his driver’s license suspended for two years. According to various reports, he still resides in Las Vegas.
Sam Kenison helped change the face of comedy and he is surely missed by many. What are your thoughts on Sam Kinison?