Monday, August 27, 2007

Nick's Passenger May Have Brain Damage

----I was really hoping nothing bad would come out of this story, but it looks like that is not going to happen.

CLEARWATER - The passenger in the car wrecked by Hulk Hogan's son Sunday night returned from Iraq last year and may have suffered brain damage in the crash, his grandmother said this morning.

Speaking from Staten Island, Catherine Graziano said her grandson, John Graziano, 22, was with the U.S. Marines in Iraq.

Her son – Graziano's father, who lives in Dunedin – was nearly incoherent when he told her by telephone of Graziano's condition, she said. She remembered her son saying something to the effect of her grandson may have suffered brain damage.

"He said it doesn't look good," Catherine Graziano said. "He was very incoherent."

"To come home from Iraq and for this to happen," she said before bringing a telephone conversation with a Tampa Tribune reporter to a close. She said she had to work on getting a flight to Florida.

Graziano is in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center. Meanwhile, Hogan's son, Nicholas Bollea, also known as Nick Hogan, 17, is not listed as a patient any longer at the hospital, a Bayfront spokeswoman said. He is presumed to have been released.

Graziano, whose local address is 1225 Curlew Road in Dunedin, was riding in the front passenger seat of a Toyota Supra driven by Bollea, Clearwater police said.

The Supra "inexplicably" left Court Street on Sunday at 8 p.m. and struck a tree in the median, destroying the car on impact, Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. Both of the car's occupants had to be extricated.

"Everything that happened last night was because of excessive speed," Shelor said this morning. "When the car hit, it largely exploded or disintegrated."

No charges have been filed. The investigation into the wreck continues, Shelor said.

This is Bollea's second accident in as many years involving a sports car.

He was driving a yellow Lamborghini when it caught fire in Bay Harbor Islands in Miami in September, according to a report published in the Miami Herald. Bollea was driving the 2001 Lamborghini Diablo VT through a residential area, the report said.

The car caught fire as he was driving, but he got out before it burst into flames, the Herald reported last year.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is popular for his reality show, "Hogan Knows Best," and is one of the Tampa Bay area's best-known celebrities. His children have become celebrities because of the show.

Hogan had moved his family to Miami so his children could pursue acting and singing careers. His daughter, Brooke, has a music career, while Nick's passion is cars, according to a biography on the show's Web site.

On a recent show, Hogan's wife and his children want the wrestling star to get a makeover, making fun of the way the Hulkster dresses. They tell him he has to dress better now that he's living in Miami.

This month, Bollea reported $100,000 in custom jewelry was missing from the family's Miami Beach home, according to news reports. He said someone stole his diamonds. The family recently moved back from Miami to their mansion at 130 Willadel Drive in Belleair.

Credit: Tampa Bay Tribune