Written by Douglas Salguod
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Sunday, 24 September 2006

image for Haley Joel Osment to Enter Ford Clinic
Osment's image could benefit from late-night crash, if Lamborghini replaces Saturn

GLENDALE, Calif. -- Haley Joel Osment is checking into the Ford Clinic, following his July 28th arrest stemming from a July 20th accident. The single-car accident occurred at about 1 a.m. as Osment was driving home alone, struck a mailbox and flipped over in his 1995 Saturn.

At his press conference Saturday Osment , the star of films such as "The Sixth Sense" and "Pay it Forward," apologized to his fans for his "woefully poor judgment." Osment asked the public to give him another chance, saying he understood that decisions he made could ruin his reputation and effectively end his acting, modelling and advertising careers.

"Only now do I see how lucky I was," said Osment. "I have come to understand it was good thing the Saturn was destroyed. I pray the Ford Clinic can keep me from letting this happen again."

Osment said even before his stay began, the Ford Clinic had helped him. "Their orientation materials have made me realize that General Motors only makes image mistakes and that any car with cache will be newer than 2004 or older than 1970."

The Henry Ford Clinic's Program in Car Aesthetics is a six-week residential program primarily targeted at individuals who wish to upgrade their automotive image. The program helps them tailor their car choices to the persona they wish to project.

Hollywood starwatchers say Osment has taken a big hit to his "Q scores," a measure of name recognition and likability of celebrities, due to his "Saturn exposure." According to Steven Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, Inc., which makes the Q-score measurements, "Haley Joel has taken a hit, not of Pee-Wee-Herman proportions, not quite Mel Gibsonesque, but there's no doubt his star has lost its luster.

"I'm not sure the latest Lamborghini could get it back -- but given the money at stake, it would be worth a try," said Levitt.

The 18-year-old actor was charged with misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, marijuana possession and driving under the influence with the special allegation of having a blood-alcohol content of .15 percent or higher. He also faces a vehicle code infraction of being under the age of 21 and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent or greater. Due to the fact that the Saturn was ruled to be a total loss, the vehicular aesthetics charge was dropped.

Osment is currently out on bail. Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said they had asked that bail be set at $15,000.

His lawyer, agent and family friend, Marvin Levy, argued on Osment's behalf that that was "not much but still an unreasonable amount, over ten times the book value of the car involved in this unfortunate and unavoidable accident."

Glendale Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Stein set bail at $60,000. "The value of an appropriate replacement vehicle for a star of his stature," said Stein.

If convicted, Osment could be sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail.

Levy said that Osment has recovered from injuries that landed him in the hospital and is preparing to attend college in the fall. Although Osment has not made a final decision on his college choice, with the recent release of this year's Princeton Review survey ranking the top "party schools" in the country, he hopes to make an informed decision. At this point he is leaning toward attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he plans to room with fellow actor Matthew McConaughey.


Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod

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