WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) — In 1967, Hollywood starlet and playboy pin up Jayne Mansfield’s life was moving at full speed.
The Blond Bombshell was a film star, TV actress and singer finishing up a performance at a nightclub in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was late at night and she decided to head to New Orleans for an appearance the next day on WDSU’s Midday show.
Mansfield loaded up three of her children in the back of her 1966 Buick Electra and headed to the Big Easy. She was driven by Ronnie Harrison and rode up front with her lawyer, Samuel Brody.
In the early morning on June 29, 1967, the car rounded a curve on a dark stretch of the road and slammed into the back of a semi-truck that had slowed for a mosquito-spraying truck near Slidell, Louisiana.
The Buick’s roof was sheared off as it slid underneath the back of the truck, killing Mansfield, Harrison and Brody instantly.
The three Mansfield children who were asleep in the back seat, included a 3-year-old Mariska Hargitay, who stars in the tv series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” received minor injuries in the crash.
According to the Times-Picayune, a $10,000 diamond bracelet was found in the wrecked car’s engine compartment. The newspaper said, “Miss Mansfield had apparently been wearing it.”
Currently, tractor trailers are required by law to have rear guards. They are energy absorbing steel bars designed to prevent a car from sliding underneath a tractor trailer during a crash. There is currently no law requiring any side guard on trucks.
According to research by the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, underride guards do help chances of survival during an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed, and has established rear guard requirements for all tractor trailers.
Source: The Times-Picayune