Actor Pierce Brosnan’s 16-year-old son, Sean, is recovering from serious injuries suffered when the car in which the teen-ager was riding skidded out of control on Dume Canyon Motorway at 3:45 a.m. Saturday, and tumbled more than 150 feet to the bottom of the canyon.
Sean, who was unconscious when he was helicoptered with his father to the UCLA Trauma Center after the crash, was moved to a private room at UCLA Medical Center Monday. According to Brosnan spokesperson Dick Guttman, Sean should be released within a week and is expected to recover fully. Guttman confirmed that the injuries to Sean were pelvic fractures and a ruptured bladder. He said a vertebral fracture was minor, and there is no spinal cord injury.
Five others in the car were cut and bruised as they were either thrown out of the vehicle or rode it down. According to California Highway Patrol Officer Lydia Martinez Prows, Sean and Morgan Meyer, 20, of Malibu, were thrown from the vehicle. Meyer received a gash on the forehead.
Passenger Cory Escobar, 19, of Malibu, used his cell phone to summon help. Several of those in the 1982 gray Chevrolet Blazer had climbed up to the road by the time rescuers arrived. Rescue squads used litters and ropes to bring up Sean and passenger Anthony Hall, 16, of Malibu.
Sean had been sitting in the front passenger’s seat.
The driver and owner of the Blazer was James P. Hall, 19, of Malibu, brother of Anthony. James Hall, a 1999 graduate of Malibu High School, was booked Saturday at Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station on suspicion of felony drunk driving. He was released Monday afternoon after posting $50,000 bail. An arraignment set for the same day at Malibu Municipal Court was postponed to May 30.
The sixth passenger was Robert Laird, 18, of England.
James Hall told officers that he was traveling at “about 30 miles an hour” and swerved to avoid a large rock.
“We found no evidence of that (large rock),” said Prows. CHP investigators said others in the vehicle had been drinking, but it is not clear who. Some had not fastened their seat belts.
Dume Canyon Motorway (reported elsewhere as Mountainway) is a quiet private road, the entrance of which is on the east side of Kanan Dume Road, 2.6 miles north of Pacific Coast Highway. It was built to provide access for Fire Department vehicles, and it connects with other motorways — Murphy and Ramera — snaking through the mountains roughly between Kanan Dume Road and Latigo Canyon Road. One side of the road drops off precipitously hundreds of feet to creeks, sycamores and lush vegetation. It is no longer officially a Los Angeles County motorway. After it was paved 10 years ago in anticipation of development, the County was no longer required to maintain it. The asphalted road itself is in fair shape, but it narrows at some points to 10 feet. Overgrowth is crowding the sides and pushing up through tarred-over cracks. Loose gravel scatters below shale slides. There are no lights and no houses for miles. Sheriff’s traffic investigator Sergeant Kevin Mauch said, “You don’t want to drive up there at night.” There is no gate. A sign near the entrance reads: “Private Road. Not Maintained. Use At Your Own Risk. Speed 15 m.p.h.” Friendly pictographs show a horseback rider and a hiker. Local youngsters know there are many places to pull off the road and kick back.
The ’82 Blazer — modified with 6-inch lift and 36-inch wheels — flew off this road near the bottom of a steep curving grade, heading west, about half a mile from the entrance at Kanan Dume. As the vehicle lost traction coming out of one curve and going into a sharper turn, the front axle caught on the 6-inch high asphalt curb, taking several inches off the top of the curb for four or five feet, and the Blazer somersaulted to the bottom.
The elder Brosnan, who has lived in Malibu for 15 years, released a statement expressing “our deepest thanks to the Search and Rescue teams in Malibu and to the devoted members of the Sheriff’s Department there for taking my son and his friends from the jaws of death.” He also commended the doctors and nursing staff at the UCLA Trauma Center.
Sean, who attended Our Lady of Malibu and Malibu Middle School, attends a boarding school in England and is home for spring break.
Sean’s mother, Cassie, died in Brosnan’s arms in 1991 of ovarian cancer.