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Columbus Uncovered: The time Dave Grohl was hit by a car in Clintonville

Columbus Uncovered: The time Dave Grohl was hit by a car in Clintonville

John M. Clark

Columbus Uncovered is a series that appears regularly on 614Now and (614) Magazine, profiling some of the most interesting and unusual Columbus events that you probably haven’t heard about before. The segment is written by local author and historian, John M. Clark.

As a child, rock star Dave Grohl was more than just a little accident-prone.  In his 2021 autobiography, “The Storyteller,” the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer describes several accidents that would make any youngster – or parent – cringe.  

There was the time he broke an ankle after colliding with a young opponent on a soccer field in Virginia, “twisting my foot in a gruesome direction it wasn’t designed to go in.”  On another occasion, he described using the “sharpest knife in the drawer” to try to slice open a frozen chocolate Easter egg, practically severing his left index finger.  Then, there were the collisions with hallway corners in his childhood homes, bike crashes and car accidents.

Apparently, he took them all in stride – not crying, not running to his mother – only hoping against hope that his latest injury would earn him a day off from school.  And it often did.

Perhaps the most serious accident for the future 11-time Grammy Award winner was one that happened right here in Columbus about 1973, when Grohl was three or four years old. Originally from Warren, Ohio, Dave moved here with his parents and older sister, Lisa, when father James took a news writing job with the now-defunct Citizen-Journal newspaper.  For the one year that James worked here, the family of four rented an apartment at 2874 North High Street, in Clintonville.


This is where the story gets a little hazy.  For reasons unknown, little Dave Grohl apparently wandered into the street in front of a home about three blocks away, where he was struck by a car.  An unidentified, undated news article simply read, “4:16 p.m. – Front of 138 E. Kelso Rd.  David Grohl, 3, of 2874 N. High Street, struck by auto.”

In Grohl’s mind, there’s no doubt he was “run over” – perhaps because it sounds more dramatic.  As with his other childhood mishaps, he seems to have taken it in stride, writing, “But I didn’t get hurt, Mommy!”

Photo via the Franklin County Auditor

And for that, millions of music fans the world over can be thankful.  His father’s’ stint at the Citizen-Journal lasted only about a year.  From here, it was on to Springfield, Virginia, where Grohl’s parents divorced when Dave was seven.  He grew up with his schoolteacher mom, fought with his father over his desire to become a musician and finally reconciled once James saw that his son was on the road to success. 

Though accidents began happening to Grohl less frequently, there was the notable broken leg he suffered after falling off a stage in Sweden, seven years ago.  Despite the pain, and the fact that the accident happened during just the second song of the show, Grohl managed to finish the entire 26-song set.

Next month, Grohl returns to Columbus for VetsAid 2022, where he will be joined onstage by other former Ohio musicians Joe Walsh, Nine Inch Nails and the Black Keys. 

Stay safe, Dave.

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new October issue here!


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