Richard Hammond shares story of 2006 crash in hopes it connects people

Richard Hammond has shared “intimate” details about the 2006 high-speed crash that left him severely injured, hoping it will “connect” with people with traumatic brain injuries.

The presenter, 52, hit a jet-powered dragster called a Vampire at nearly 320 mph while filming Top Gear at the former RAF Elvington Air Force Base near York.

Although the incident left him with severe head injuries, he made a full recovery and returned to the show in early 2007.

Hammond recently shared his “personal” story as part of a video for the DriveTribe YouTube channel he co-founded with Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

In the video shot in the Lake District, he explains what he remembers dreaming about during what could have been his final moments.

“In the hospital, in the intensive care unit, things didn’t seem to be going very well, but I don’t know, there was a lot of morphine floating around my body,” he said.

“I finally woke up and shared with my wife Mindy about the dream I had. Something that’s really, really, really alive, perhaps, in part, is due to the amount of morphine.

“And in my mind, I was walking in these hills in the Lake District, overlooking Buttermere.


Richard Hammond leaves Leeds General Hospital after sustaining serious injuries while driving a jet-powered car at Elvington Airport near York (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“I was having a great time walking around and gradually I get the feeling you know when you know you’re in trouble.

“(It) grew and grew until finally in my dream I turned around, I didn’t go around this tree and kept going and then I woke up.”

Video of the day

After waking up and telling his wife, journalist Mindy, about his dream, she told him what was happening at the same time in the hospital room.

He said: “She was called into the intensive care unit and was told, ‘Mrs Hammond, I’m really sorry, things don’t seem to be going well’.

“I’m on full life support and breathing apparatus, she was told the situation was not good, we thought we were going to lose him.”


Richard Hammond and his wife Mindy (Ian West/PA)

His wife asked if she was allowed to scream at Hammond.

“Obviously she roared, screamed and cursed at me saying ‘you dare not die’ and that’s when I came back from this tree in my dream and that’s when I woke up,” he said.

“My last thought took me to where I love and where I am happy. So I’m not afraid of this old tree. I pass it often, most months I go up here and walk, and every time I pass it, I feel comforted.

“I knew that was where I was going. It’s still here and I’m still here. But it speaks to the importance of place and the joy of being connected to a place.”

After the video went viral, Hammond appeared on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, where broadcaster Evan Davis asked why he decided to share the intimate details of his story – 16 years later.

He said: “I suppose you don’t always get to be really personal and share a pretty intimate story but I hope it connects with people.

“It was a momentous event in my life and because it’s about a brain injury it affects so many people, if it involves anyone it’s worth talking about.” Richard Hammond shares story of 2006 crash in hopes it connects people

Fry Electronics Team

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