- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. (AP) - Prosecutors charged a man Friday with vehicular manslaughter in the death of a mixed martial arts promoter killed when his red Ferrari was sheared in half in a collision.

Jeffrey David Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa was also charged with gross negligence and one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury.

Prosecutors are also seeking sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene and causing bodily injury to more than one person.

Charles David Lewis Jr., known as “Mask,” died early Wednesday after his 2004 Ferrari Modena collided with Kirby’s 1977 Porsche in Newport Beach. The Ferrari hit a cement light post and was sliced in half, trapping Lewis in the front half and ejecting his passenger, 23-year-old Lacy Lynn White.

She remained hospitalized with a fractured elbow and lacerations.

Police discovered a Porsche not far from the accident with moderate body damage. They found Kirby and his passenger, 32-year-old Lynn Marie Nabozny, walking away from the car.

Nabozny, of Newport Beach, was arrested for investigation of public intoxication and released. She will not be charged, police said.

Kirby, who pleaded guilty in 2002 to driving under the influence, had a blood-alcohol level of .13 two hours after the crash, prosecutors said in a statement. The legal limit for drivers in California is .08.

He also had a 1985 conviction for driving under the influence in Nevada, said Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez.

Lewis, 45, was known for his signature face paint stripes and was a pioneer in mixed martial arts, considered an extreme sport that combines wrestling, martial arts and boxing. It remains illegal in some states.

He and his friends sold T-shirts at local gyms and events before founding the clothing line TapouT in 1997. The line is sold in 20,000 stores worldwide and last year had more than $50 million in revenue.

Lewis and two partners also starred in a reality TV show called “TapouT” on the Versus channel that involved roaming the country seeking mixed martial arts fighters to train and sponsor.

At a brief hearing Friday, Kirby’s arraignment was continued until March 27 at his request, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Kirby’s bail was reduced to $500,000 from $2 million, with the condition that he cannot drive or consume alcohol if he posts the bond, she said.

Defense attorney Steven Cron said he couldn’t comment on the strength of the case because he had not received enough information from prosecutors.

He said he hopes to get Kirby’s bail lowered again in case he can’t pay the current amount.

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