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APNewsBreak: No charges against bar in Dunn death
Question of the Day
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, but the bar where he was drinking before the accident won’t face charges because he apparently wasn’t visibly intoxicated when he was served by bar staff and his final drinks of the night were given to him by fans at a back table, authorities said Wednesday.
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, 34, and his passenger Zachary Hartwell, 30, died early Monday after they left a West Chester bar called Barnaby’s of America. 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.
Employees at the bar said Dunn was not visibly intoxicated at any point that night and surveillance video shared with police supported those observations, said Frank Herron, the bar’s general manager.
“He spoke clearly. He walked clearly. He came in hop, skip, jumping. He left hop, skip, jumping,” Herron told The Associated Press. “If these results are true, I’m shocked at it. We were very confident that he had not had that much.”
Sgt. William La Torre, of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, told the AP that the agency investigated but determined that there would be no charges against the bar because Dunn was apparently not visibly intoxicated during the time he was served two beers and six shots from bar employees over four hours.
Later, however, Dunn went to a back table that was out of sight of the bartender, La Torre said. At that time, La Torre said, fans and other people _ but not bar staff _ bought him three more drinks.
“The service that occurred after he left the bar area was by patrons and fans who were not employees of the bar,” La Torre told the AP, adding that Dunn also apparently was not eating at the time.
Dunn was not visibly intoxicated during any of the footage shown on surveillance tape, La Torre said, but it likely was the drinks served to Dunn at the end of the night that later 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 because of his tattoos and hair.
The toxicology report said Dunn did not have “drugs of abuse” in his system. The term encompasses illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and marijuana, said Chief Deputy Coroner David Garver. The coroner’s office was still awaiting the 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 reporting..
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