Actor and comedian Kevin Hart is recovering from “major back injuries” after his vintage muscle car careered off a road and crashed in the hills above Malibu.
Police say 40-year-old Hart was a passenger in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that went off the winding Mulholland Highway and rolled down an embankment about 12.45am on Sunday.
According to the report, Hart’s car was being driven by his friend Jared Black, 28.
Both men suffered serious spinal damage and were taken to hospitals.
Hours before the accident, the comedian posted a since-deleted video on his Instagram stories of himself in the vintage car, “burning out the rubbers on the tires”, according to Heavy.com.
“The person filming Hart could be heard saying, ‘Cool out’, because of the screeching noise becoming too loud,” said the entertainment site.
Mr Black’s fiancee Rebecca Broxterman, 31 – the personal trainer of Hart’s wife Eniko – was a passenger in the wrecked car but did not require hospital treatment.
The star may need surgery but “doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery”, according to entertainment site The Blast.
“We’re told the injury is ‘not a spinal cord injury'”, said the site, which added Hart is “able to walk and move his extremities.”
Hart was the first person out of the wreckage. A witness told TMZ a member of the star’s security team arrived in another car to pick him up.
The comedian “left the scene” to go home and seek medical attention, said police.
He was later admitted to LA’s Northridge Hospital.
Hours before the crash Hart posted to Instagram a photo of himself jumping into his pool, saying “being home makes me happy … enjoy your weekend people.”
Police said Mr Black was found “pinned in his seat under the crushed roof and so was the female passenger,” according to TMZ, which first broke the story.
Said the celebrity website, “We’re told the fire department had to saw off the roof to free them.”
The California Highway Patrol report says Mr Black, who was airlifted to UCLA Medical Centre, lost control of the car as it turned from a canyon road onto the highway.
Crash scene video shows Hart’s Plymouth Barracuda deep in a gully about three metres off the road. It smashed through timber roadside fencing and its roof was crushed by the impact of the crash.
The police report said Mr Black was not under the influence of alcohol.
Prayers up for Kevin Hart who has been hospitalized with major back injuries 🙏🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/wGgdX1LiaM
— 👑 DaddyMo 👑 (@therealdaddymo1) September 1, 2019
Hart bought the vintage muscle car just two months ago as a 40th birthday present to himself.
“I added some more muscle to the family for my 40th,” he wrote on Instagram at the time.
“Welcome home ‘Menace’ #MuscleCarLover.”
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A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on
Hart came to fame as a stand-up comic and has three comedy albums, including the 2011 hit Laugh at My Pain. He has also appeared in several films, including 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Upside (2019).
Two days after he was named host of the 2019 Oscars, he quit the high-profile role after past homophobic tweets reappeared.
Hart is the star and producer of upcoming movie Fatherhood, based on the true story of Matt Logelin, whose wife died shortly after childbirth, leaving Matt to raise their daughter Maddy on his own.
With his wife, children and father, Hart has recently been on a holiday, posting photos with a tropical background and videos where he referred to himself as ‘Island Dave’.
One photo showed him tucked up asleep on what looked to be a private jet with son Kenzo.
A representative for Hart didn’t immediately respond to requests for updates on the comedian’s condition.