CLEARWATER, Fla. (WTSP) — Hulk Hogan's son, Nick Bollea, has received eight months in the Pinellas County Jail, five years probation and 500 hours of community service. The judge also suspended Bollea's driver's license for three years, and mandated that he attend DUI school and advanced defensive driving school. As Judge Philip Federico delivered the sentence, he said that this was not just an accident but a series of conscious choices that led to tragedy.
Authorities say Bollea was racing a friend in August in his father's sports car when he hit a curb and slammed into a palm tree. The impact critically hurt his friend, John Graziano, who was not wearing a seat belt and now requires a lifetime of care. Nick Bollea entered a no contest plea today.
Edward Graziano took the stand and offered an emotional statement on behalf of his son. He mentioned John's military honors, his time in the Marines, and wondered why - if Nick thought of John as a brother - then why did he drive so recklessly with him in the car. Nick never wanted to be at the hospital, according to Edward, that it showed on his face, and when he did visit the hospital he would skateboard down the hallways and would shoot dart guns at the hospital. He also spoke of how Nick is a repeat offender and mentioned his past violations, and said the court needs to put a stop to Nick's careless driving. He wants to see Nick get at least one year in jail, and that anything less will have no impact
John's sister, Christin Carson, was very emotional on when she took the stand. She spoke about how the state of life that John is in is worse than death, because it plays over and over like a nightmare. She said that Nick has never apologized for what he did and hopes he can understand one day what he has put the family through. Graziano's girlfriend also made an emotional statement on the stand, and his mother said in her statement that Nick saw speeding as a badge of honor, was bragging about getting sponsors soon, and that he described John's injuries as a bump on the head.
Dressed in black and wearing a black doo-rag, Hulk Hogan took the stand saying the victim was like part of his family, like another son or brother. According to Hulk Hogan, the victim wrote the Hogans when he was in Iraq, and he's noticed a change in his son over the past 8 months. Hogan reminded everyone that Bollea is a 17-year-old child, and he will have to live with this experience for the rest of his life, asking that Nick be judged fairly, saying he wanted no preferential treatment for Nick but wanted to make sure that he was not given a harsher punishment because he is the son of a celebrity. Linda Hogan made a short statement, saying that her son is not the same without his best friend, that he never meant to hurt him and would switch places with him if he could.
In his statement, Nick Bollea remained calm and said that he really missed his best friend. He apologized to the victim's family and said that John Graziano was like a big brother to him. Brooke Hogan cried on the stand and spoke of "both of her brothers, John and Nick."