Tapout co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr. was killed early Wednesday in Newport Beach, California in a car accident that tore the Ferrari he was driving in half.
The LA Times has details on the tragic accident:
A bizarre car crash in Newport Beach involving two luxury cars early this morning left one person dead, a second injured, a third arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and a fourth person was detained by police long enough to sober up.
A Newport Beach Police Department officer allegedly witnessed the wreck and saw a red Ferrari and a white Porsche “spinning out of control” on Jamboree Road between Bison Avenue and East Bluff Drive at 12:57 a.m., Newport Beach Lt. Craig Fox said. The Ferrari “hit the curb and then collided with a pole.” The Porsche came to a stop at the scene for a few seconds and then sped away, Fox said.
“It was terrible. It was extensive damage to the vehicle,” Fox said, adding that the Ferrari appeared to have split in half.
An unidentified man in the Ferrari was pronounced dead. A woman in the car was ejected during the accident and taken to a hospital, where she was in stable condition, Fox said. He said police have not yet determined which one was driving and which one was the passenger.
Police located the Porsche on Bison Avenue just west of Jamboree Road shortly afterward and saw a man and a woman walking away from the car.
“The vehicle had moderate damage and appeared to be consistent with the car involved in the accident on Jamboree,” Fox said. “They determined that the male had been driving the Porsche, and he was arrested” for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, he said.
Police identified the driver of the Porsche as Jeffrey David Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa, and said his bail was set at $1 million. Newport Beach resident Lynn Marie Nabozny, 32, was a passenger in the Porsche and was arrested for public intoxication. She was released about 7:45 a.m. and will not be formally charged, Fox said. He said the investigation is ongoing but that police identified skid marks at the scene “consistent with excessive speeding.”
MMAFrenzy.com sends it’s condolences to Lewis’ family and friends. We ask our readers to be respectful, because, love or hate the brand TapouT built, there’s no denying the tremendous positive impact they’ve had on the sport.
Update from Kris Karkoski on 3/9/2009 at 5:48pm ET
TapouT has confirmed, in an announcement on tapout.com, that “Mask” was killed in an overnight accident:
“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we must regretfully confirm the passing of our beloved friend, brother and co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis following a car accident that occurred last night. We are currently in the process of setting up a memorial service in his honor and will release more details as they become available. Many thanks to all for the outpouring of blessings and well-wishes during this incredibly difficult time.”