Noah Gragson has experienced a quick ascension in his professional driving career as one of NASCAR‘s top young talents. His rise toward prominence in the sport came with a troubling personal situation involving his father, Scott Gragson. His dad’s actions in a tragic accident turned everything off the track upside down.
Noah Gragson’s father involved in a tragic incident
In May 2019, things took an extremely concerning turn for Noah Gragson‘s family after his father caused a fatal accident.
Scott Gragson, the son of former Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gragson, was at the center of a tragic incident after crashing his 2015 Range Rover SVR with four other passengers in the vehicle in Summerlin located near Las Vegas. The incident happened after Gragson turned into a curve, but he lost control and went off the road, colliding with several trees.
The passengers in the car were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the vehicle. A 36-year-old woman, later identified as Melissa Newton, suffered fatal injuries from the crash. A 50-year-old man, Christopher Bentley, and a 46-year-old woman, Christie Cobbett, both suffered severe injuries.
Meanwhile, Gragson and the 44-year-old front passenger, Greg Tassi, suffered only minor injuries. However, Gragson was later booked on suspicion of DUI after failing a sobriety test following the accident.
He also admitted to the Metropolitan Police Department officers that he drank for about five hours at a charity golf event where he consumed “four to five mixed drinks” and Coors beers before the incident.
Not long after the accident, Gragson was charged with six counts, including DUI resulting in death.
NASCAR driver Noah Gragson’s father sentenced up to 20 years in prison after devastating accident
The situation quickly headed to court, where Scott Gragson went through a lengthy trial.
In February 2020, Gragson pleaded guilty to DUI causing death and DUI causing substantial bodily harm. Following the guilty plea, prosecutors in the case asked for a 10-25 year sentence in prison. In late August, Gragson’s legal team asked for a lighter punishment between six to 15 years.
A few weeks after that request, judge Michael Villani in September ordered 8-20 years in prison for Gragson.
During the trial, John Newton, Melissa Newton’s husband, expressed the utter pain and emotional toll the loss of his wife has had on him and their three children. (H/T Racing News)
“I can still hear those screams,” Newton’s ex-husband, John Newton said, recalling when he told their daughters. “I will always hear those screams.”
The legal troubles didn’t end there as Gragson went through additional significant financial problems.
Agreement reached to pay a $21 million civil case settlement
The legal issues around Scott Gragson didn’t end with a prison sentence, as the accident also hit him hard financially.
According to Fox 5 KVVU-TV, Gragson and his insurance agreed in May 2020 to pay $21 million in a partial settlement in a civil case with Newton’s family. He also paid more than $6 million in attorney fees. According to Wallmine.com, before Gragson received his prison sentence, he held a net worth valued north of $100 million.
The 54-year-old is still dealing with another civil court case that saw Christopher Bentley levy a $470 million lawsuit against him in June 2019. It includes $68 million requested in compensatory damages and more than $400 million in punitive damages for Bentley, who has ongoing health issues linked to brain damage.
Gragson is currently serving his prison sentence that could see him behind bars for possibly the next two decades.