Steve Wilkos Hospitalized After Gnarly Car Wreck

1/23/2018 11:08 AM PST

Steve Wilkos Hospitalized, Survives Serious Car Crash

EXCLUSIVE

Steve Wilkos is lucky to be alive after a car crash sent the talk show host and former Jerry Springer bodyguard to the hospital.

Law enforcement sources in Darien, Connecticut tell us Wilkos was involved in a single-car accident Sunday afternoon. We're told his vehicle struck several poles and a tree before ending up on its side ... Wilkos was transported to a local hospital for his injuries but has since been discharged.

Wilkos tells TMZ he typically wears glasses when he drives, but he was not wearing them before the crash. He says he was reaching for his glasses to put them on when he hit the curb and then struck the poles and a tree. Wilkos says he never drinks or does drugs.

Wilkos tells us he's pretty beat up but will be ok. In a terrible coincidence, Wilkos says the same day he crashed, his audio guy on the show and the crew member's wife were driving in the same area when they crashed -- both were killed. Production is set to start back up in a few days.

Wilkos found his fame as Jerry Springer's bodyguard on the popular talk show before creating his own show -- "The Steve Wilkos Show" -- in 2007.

Police tell us the crash remains an "active and open investigation."