Harvey blames potatoes for bizarre car accident
by AMANDA PERTHEN, Mail on Sunday
Last updated at 10:05 07 August 2005
Troubled reality TV star Brian Harvey has provided an astonishing explanation for the bizarre and terrifying accident in which he was run over by his own Mercedes… claiming it was caused by a meal of three giant baked potatoes smothered in tuna mayonnaise and cheese.
Harvey, speaking for the first time about the incident that nearly cost him his life, says he fell under the car as he leant out of the driver’s door to be sick because he had eaten so much – and the Mercedes rolled over him.
He fractured his pelvis in seven places, broke his ribs and punctured his lungs. He lay unconscious for three weeks and had to endure 12 hours of surgery as doctors battled to rebuild his shattered frame.
Harvey, 30, is now in a wheelchair with an external steel frame still supporting his fragile pelvis. Internally he is held together by a selection of clamps, bars and pins. Miraculously, doctors say he will probably make a full recovery.
Now, as he is nursed by his model girlfriend Emma B, Harvey – lead singer in successful Nineties boy band East 17 – says the accident has given him a new view on life.
He told The Mail on Sunday: “You have to laugh, really. I’m not religious but there is definitely someone up there trying to teach me a lesson.”
And he hopes his brush with death will mark a turning point in his life. From 1992 to 1997, East 17 had 16 Top 30 hits, including the 1994 Christmas No1 Stay Another Day. He was engaged to glamorous EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook. He had a London penthouse and millions of fans. But now his star has dimmed and his pop fortune disappeared.
Harvey married and divorced dancer Natasha Goldman and fought a bitter custody battle over their daughter Teigan. He was prosecuted and cleared for supplying cocaine, went bankrupt and suffered a brutal machete attack outside a nightclub.
I’m a Celebrity…
Last year his attempt to revive his career on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here faltered after his grandmother died and he quit. There were two suicide attempts and Emma B announced she was leaving him.
Harvey said: “A lot of people were going on about suicide attempts but this wasn’t one. You couldn’t have done it if you had tried.”
Harvey had been at home in Walthamstow, East London, when he overindulged on his night-time snack.
He said: “I was starving so I baked three jacket potatoes and stuffed them down. They were big. I put cheese on, then tuna mayonnaise and I ate the lot.”
He then attempted to drive to a friend’s house but got lost in a cul-de-sac. “There wasn’t room to turn round, so I came to a stop and put the car in reverse. But then I felt sick so I took off my seatbelt, opened the door and went to be sick. Instead of keeping my foot on the brake, it slipped on to the accelerator.”
The Mercedes careered into another car and the jolt sent Harvey out of the door and on to the road.
“I got caught up between my driver’s door and a wall. The car was still going backwards and I was forced underneath.”
The friend Harvey was going to visit heard his screams and rushed to the scene to pull the singer clear. Harvey said: “The car went over my stomach and pushed it up into my lungs, both lungs completely deflated, my diaphragm was ripped and my pelvis was smashed in seven places.
“I don’t remember the ambulance or hospital. I just remember waking up three weeks later in intensive care with tubes coming out of me.”
Harvey underwent a five-hour operation at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London to repair his diaphragm, reinflate his lungs and realign his stomach. Within 24 hours he was transferred to St George’s Hospital in South London for a seven-hour operation by trauma specialist Martin Bircher, who was orthopaedic surgeon to the Queen Mother.
He has had several messages of support from his I’m A Celebrity colleagues, including Joe Pasquale, Fran Cosgrave and Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear).
But Harvey reserves his highest praise for Emma B, 25, who has put her career on hold to nurse him at her home in Hastings, East Sussex. He said: “She’s been brilliant. Emma and I are going to get married now. Your priorities change and you suddenly realise what’s important after something like this happens.”
But one thing he definitely won’t be doing is eating baked potatoes. He said: “I haven’t had a jacket potato since. I could never eat them again.”