Jets cornerback Brandin Echols loses control of sports car at 84 mph, runs motorist off road in horrifying crash, newly surfaced video shows

A newly surfaced video shows the stomach-churning moment that New York Jets cornerback Brandin Echols loses control of his Dodge Charger Hellcat at 84 mph and runs a hapless motorist off the road, sending the BMW airborne, hurtling over a guardrail and into a field.

Stephen Gilberg, 51, of Livingston, N.J., claims he became “partially paralyzed” following the April 26, 2022 accident, and is now suing Echols and the Jets.

The high-speed crash unfolded around 2 p.m. on Columbia Turnpike, near Morristown Airport, just minutes from the Jets’ practice facility in Florham Park, N.J.

Stephen Gilberg, 51, of Livingston, became “partially paralyzed” following the April 26, 2022 mishap and is now suing Echols and the Jets in the accident, which happened around 2 p.m. on Columbia Turnpike, near Morristown Airport. Courtesy of Stathis & Leonardis
The collision propelled Gilberg’s BMW into the curb and over the guardrail. Courtesy of Stathis & Leonardis

Echols was suspended for one game in 2023 but the team never publicly announced it was for the rookie’s reckless, near-fatal driving.

The injured New Jersey man has said the crash and injuries will “forever haunt me.”

In the 10-second dash-cam clip obtained by The Post, Echols, behind the wheel of the black 2021 Hellcat, can be seen attempting to pass Gilberg’s black 2018 BMW X5 on the left. The muscle car suddenly veers right and rams into the driver’s side of the Beemer, propelling Gilberg’s SUV over the guardrail.

The BMW landed “upside down in a marshy area,” the victim said.

Gilberg remained trapped inside the flipped BMW for an hour until emergency responders could cut him out of the vehicle, his attorney said.

The crash left him with broken ribs and “no feeling or movement in both hands and his right leg that required spinal surgery,” according to police reports.

The injured NJ man has said the crash and injuries will “forever haunt me.” Courtesy of Stathis & Leonardis
Brandin Echols was not injured in the crash. Getty Images

Gilberg continues to receive treatment for his injuries, he said in court papers.

Police said an investigation found Echols was traveling at a speed of 84 mph — in a 50-mph zone — five seconds before impact, police records show.

“The data recorder had him [at top speed] upwards of 111 mph,” charged Gilberg’s attorney, Nicholas Leonardis.

Echols, who was alone, was not injured.

The collision sent Gilberg’s BMW airborne, and hurtling over a guardrail into a field. Courtesy of Stathis & Leonardis

The Jets are responsible for the negligent acts of Echols, Gilberg said in the Morris County Superior Court lawsuit filed last month.

“New York Jets . . . did not exercise reasonable care in hiring defendant, Echols, as one of its players in that they failed to conduct the proper motor vehicle and/or criminal history checks,” the suit states.

Echols “has a history” of reckless driving and had a “remote controlled license plate concealer” in the vehicle, alleged Gilberg. Such concealers are usually used to evade tolls and speeding and red-light cameras.

A check of Echols’ Mississippi driving record revealed he had “four instances of speeding violation convictions, with one for going 15 miles per hour over the limit and a second for 20 miles per hour over the limit,” according to a police report.

The Jet also was issued a prior warning for flying down the same turnpike in the same sportscar, according to the police report. In that instance, Echols was stopped just after midnight on Dec. 20, 2021 by a Florham Park cop, who recalled stopping the vehicle “for traveling 82 mph in a 50 mph zone.”

Echols, who has not admitted any guilt, was criminally charged with assault by auto last year but “voluntarily” entered a three-year pretrial intervention program that could result in the charge being dismissed.

He received summonses for reckless driving, speeding, failure to wear a seat belt, unsafe lane change and improper passing. Those too will reportedly be dismissed once Echols completes the three-year requirements.

Echols, who has not admitted any guilt, was charged with assault by auto but last year “voluntarily” entered a three-year pretrial intervention program that could result in the charge being dismissed. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

As for Gilberg, he was taken to Morristown Medical Center following the crash and had two spinal surgeries and compiled medical bills of nearly $1 million by March 2023, according to the claim.

Echols has to pay Gilberg $1,200 per month in “restitution” until the victim’s $54,460 “out of pocket” medical expenses is reached, according Leonardis.

“While I’ve made certain strides physically, such as learning to walk again albeit not in the same way I used to, it’s the nerve damage and the pain you don’t see,” Gilberg said during a February 2023 court hearing. “The physical things I will never be able to do and the psychological trauma I am living with every single day that will continue to impact the rest of my life.”

Gilberg and his wife, Cheryl, are suing Echols, the Jets, the NJ state Department of Transportation and other entities, alleging assault by auto and negligence. The lawsuit contends DOT was “negligent in the design and installment of curbs and guardrails.”

Gilberg has endured two spinal surgeries due to the horrific crash, his attorney said. Courtesy of Stathis & Leonardis

“This is a case of just complete disregard for the safety of others on the roadway from a gentleman who has been pulled over in the past for speeding in town. A gentleman who has a device that hides his license plate,” said Gilberg’s attorney, Leonardis.

Leonardis, who declined to make Gilberg available for comment, said, “You have to be held accountable for your conduct. And I haven’t seen anything from any of the posts I’ve seen from Mr. Echols where he’s expressed one word of remorse. He’s never reached out to my client.”

Neither the Jets nor Echols’ attorney returned messages seeking comment.

“Mr. Echols is not alleged to have been driving under the influence of any substances and there are no claims that Mr. Echols intended to hurt anyone,” his attorney Mitch Schuster told the Daily Record in March 2023. “Mr. Echols is deeply saddened that Mr. Gilberg suffered injuries as a result of the accident and wishes Mr. Gilberg a full and speedy recovery.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Echols, who signed a 4-year, $3.6 million contract with the Jets, played at Kentucky and was a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft. In 2023, he appeared in 14 games, had 18 tackles and had one interception for a touchdown.

To some fans, Echols is best known for asking Tom Brady to autograph a ball he intercepted off of him in a heartbreaking Jets loss to the Buccaneers in 2022.


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