No charges against bar in Dunn death
Thursday, June 23, 2011
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn had a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit when he and a passenger died in a fiery one-car crash this week, according to a toxicology report.
Dunn’s Porsche may have been traveling as fast as 140 mph in a 55 mph zone when it jumped a guardrail, flew into a wooded ravine, struck a tree and burst into flames, police said.
His blood-alcohol level was 0.196 at the time of the Monday morning crash, according to the toxicology report released Wednesday by West Goshen Township Police. The legal limit for drivers is .08. Dunn’s passenger Zachary Hartwell also died.
Dunn, 34, and Hartwell, 30, had been at a West Chester bar called Barnaby’s of America that evening. Hours before the crash, Dunn tweeted a photo from the bar of the pair and a third man drinking. The photo has since been taken down.
Sgt. William La Torre of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Enforcement told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agency investigated and determined there would be no charges against the bar because Dunn did not appear intoxicated during the time he was served two beers and six shots from bar employees over four hours.
Surveillance video shared with police supported the bar employee’s observations, said Frank Herron, the general manager.
“He spoke clearly. He walked clearly. He came in hop, skip, jumping. He left hop, skip, jumping,” Herron told the AP. “If these results are true, I’m shocked at it. We were very confident that he had not had that much.”
Also, La Torre said, Dunn apparently wasn’t eating as he drank and his final drinks of the night were given to him by fans at a back table. La Torre said most likely these final drinks put him over the edge.
“It’s always a tragedy whenever there’s a preventable crash that takes a life,” La Torre said.
According to court documents, Dunn was charged in April 2005 with driving under the influence after crashing his car in West Whiteland Township, about two miles from Monday’s crash site. The documents show he successfully completed a program designed for first-time nonviolent offenders that allows charges to be dismissed after defendants finish the program.
More court documents showed that Dunn had been cited for speeding several times since 1998.
Dunn appeared on MTV shows “Jackass” and “Viva La Bam” and the three “Jackass” big-screen adaptations. He also was the star of his own MTV show, “Homewrecker,” and just began hosting the show “Proving Ground” on the G4 cable network. G4 said it pulled “Proving Ground” and would decide whether to continue airing it.
Dunn also starred in the yet-to-be-released film “Living Will.” The film’s website describes Dunn’s character as a “party bum slacker (who) returns from the dead as a mischievous and perverted ghost.”
The force of Monday’s crash shattered Dunn’s 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 into several twisted and blackened pieces, leaving the car unrecognizable except for a door that was thrown from the crash. A 100-foot-long tire skid marked where the car left the roadway.
Both Dunn and Hartwell, a production assistant for the second “Jackass” movie, were severely burned. Police said they identified Dunn from his tattoos and hair.
The toxicology report said Dunn did not have “drugs of abuse” in his system. The term encompasses illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine and marijuana, said Chief Deputy Coroner David Garver. The coroner’s office still awaiting results of tests that would indicate the presence of prescription drugs, Garver said.
Dunn was born in Ohio and moved at age 15 to Pennsylvania, where he met fellow “Jackass” cast member Bam Margera on his first day of high school, according to a biography posted on his website.
Margera visited the crash site Tuesday, telling WTXF-TV that he was devastated by Dunn’s death.
“I’ve never lost anybody that I cared about. It’s my best friend,” he told WTXF, weeping. “He was the happiest person ever, the smartest guy. He had so much talent, and he had so many things going for him. This is not right, not right.”
Randy Pennell in Philadelphia and News Researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York contributed report.
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