Close Call

UPDATED 11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

I love the feeling of being a naked egg atop that throbbing steel," Lauren Hutton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Oct. 20, the day before she set out on a planned 100-mile motorcycle trip across southern Nevada. "You feel vulnerable—but so alive."

Now Hutton, 56, has even more reason to feel vulnerable—and lucky to be alive. Shortly after noon on Oct. 21, the gap-toothed model and actress, riding with a group of around 50 fellow motorcycle enthusiasts including actors Jeremy Irons and Dennis Hopper, lost control of her bike on a curvy stretch of desert highway in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 30 miles east of Las Vegas. "The motorcycle apparently left the road ... and appeared to travel several hundred feet before stopping," said Bert Byers of the National Park Service, which is still investigating the accident.

Within 45 minutes Hutton, alert but badly injured, was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Admitted in serious condition, she was treated for multiple fractures to her right leg, a fractured right arm and bruises. Fortunately, the 25-time Vogue cover model had been wearing a helmet and protective leather riding gear. "She's expected to be okay," said hospital spokesman Rick Plummer.

Hutton, who appeared in 1977's Viva Knievel with cycling daredevil Evel Knievel, is also "in good spirits," says her publicist Joe Quenqua, and unlikely to curb what he calls "a very active lifestyle" that also includes scuba diving and even dogsledding.

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