Tyson Beckford's Brush with Death
July 13, 2005

It was a horrifying accident that will be forever imprinted in model Tyson Beckford's memory: a Mack truck ramming his red pickup off the road. Beckford found himself trapped inside the burning vehicle, and five weeks later, he's still recovering.

"He just pushed me right into the light pole and then the engine burst into flames," Beckford recalled. "My lip was busted, one of my teeth was knocked out and my eye was swollen shut. My nose was fractured and the blood was squirting out of my face."

Beckford currently still wears sunglasses because his eyes are sensitive to light. But he vividly remembers how he narrowly escaped that burning deathtrap before it exploded.

"I started pushing the seat belt and it wouldn't release," he told us. "I guess because the brakes had locked and the seat belt had jammed up. So then, I was reaching for my knife to cut the seat, and then, the last try I did, it popped open."

Beckford admitted that when faced with death, the serious injuries to his famous face were the furthest thing from his mind. "I didn't care about that, and I didn't care if I was to never take another picture again or was never in a film," he said. "I was thankful that I was alive, with the grace of God, like saying, ŽNo, it's not your time.'"

Tyson has not driven a car or truck since the accident, but the 34-year-old bachelor is back on his motorcycle and back in the gym to regain the 11 pounds of muscle he lost.

And although he didn't walk away unscathed, Beckford told us about the important lesson he learned through the accident: "At the snap of the finger or a blink of an eye, you can lose it. And I value it a lot, having a son and a family; it means a lot more to me now than it did before. I wouldn't say I'm invincible, but I'm very close to it."

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