Watch CBS News

Book Claims Woody Johnson Drunkenly Fell Off Bridge In College While Urinating

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Woody Johnson was quite the party guy in his younger years, according to a new book that looks into the heirs of the Johnson & Johnson fortune.

And the future Jets owner didn't always make the best decisions, the book alleges.

Jerry Oppenheimer's "Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty" is set to come out next month, and the New York Post reported a harrowing story that will be featured in the book.

Johnson, the great-grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I -- who co-founded Johnson & Johnson -- attended the University of Arizona. Oppenheimer wrote that one evening, Johnson and his friends -- known as "the money boys, the party guys" -- found themselves in some trouble while intoxicated in Phoenix, according to the newspaper.

"Oh, my God, who knows what we had, but yes, we were drinking alcohol," Johnson's then-girlfriend Diane Vonderahe said in the book, according to the New York Post. "We pulled off one of the off-ramps because we all had to go to the bathroom, and it was pitch-black outside. Even all these years later, it kind of gives me the creeps ... because it's not a very happy story. My heart's still beating. I was in total panic."

Johnson was on a bridge, and "he had been drinking, was urinating ... and took a step or two backward," the author wrote, according to the Post.

"It was like an 18-foot drop, and (Johnson) just stepped off of it," Vonderahe informed Oppenheimer in the book.

According to the book, the controversial Jets owner "had broken his back and was virtually paralyzed. He underwent surgery and was in intensive care for three or four months."

Debbie Sceli Peacock saw the scary incident, the newspaper reported

"They told him he would never walk again," Peacock said in the book.

But after "intense rehabilitation," as it's written in the book, the New Brunswick native was able to leave the hospital.

The New York Post reached out to the Jets for a comment, but the organization didn't offer one.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.