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Actress and model Rebecca Gayheart opened up about a tragedy that took place 18 years ago, when she accidentally killed a 9-year-old in a car accident.
The star appeared on an episode of “The Only one in the Room” podcast, where she about the incident in public for the first time.
“I had a very terrible accident to happen. A 9-year-old child died. And, you know, everything has changed, and that I still have trouble talking about it,” she explained.
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In 2001, Gayheart was driving when she struck Jorge Cruz Jr. He died of his injuries the following day, according to the People. The star explained that the car in front of hit her on her breaks, and she tried to go around the place of touch. However, Cruz was apparently the reason that the car in front of her stopped abruptly and she ended up hitting him.
“It was a football, football went… And he was behind his ball,” she shared.
She told the listeners never try to swerve around a stopped car because “the car stopped for a reason.”
“I know it was an accident, I know that it was an accident, but still… I just go” God, I wish I had stopped for that pack of cigarettes in the street,’ or ‘I wish I was smarter in the moment.'”
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People reports that Gayheart pleaded no contest to vehicle manslaughter, was sentenced to a probationary period of one-year suspension of her license, a $2,800 fine, 750 hours of community service and agreed to pay $10,000 for funeral costs. They reportedly also settled a wrongful death lawsuit out of court with the Cruz parents.
“I just don’t want to live after that accident. That is what it came down. I couldn’t handle it. So I spent about a year just trying to kill me, in principle, by doing every self-destructive thing a person can do,” she said.
“I just don’t understand; I didn’t understand it, as I had led, you know, sort of charmed life until then, even though I grew up dirt poor,” she continued. “It’s just turned my world upside down and I lost faith in everything, if, I questioned God, Why me? Why Jorge?'”
The star explained that at the time that still affects her, but that she learned to live with the guilt and understand that she deserves to be happy, despite what happened.
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“Today, I am able to think questions, and realizing that I deserve to be happy,” she concluded. “I’m meant to be on this planet and that I have a goal and I’m making, living, cease, that, although it was an accident.”