According to Orange Country officials, the District Attorney’s office filed charges against the driver of a car involved in a collision that killed Tapout founder Charles Lewis Jr. This man is better known on the mask. He officially passed on March 11th in California.
The driver charged with this reckless tragedy is repeat offender Jeffrey David Kirby. A 51-year-old from Costa Mesa, California who was also convicted for DUI in 2002 and 1985.
A Newport Beach Police Department officer was on patrol the night of the March 11 crash. He witnessed Kirby’s 1977 Porsche traveling at a high rate of speed towards Lewis’ 2004 Ferrari. This caused Lewis to crash into a utility poll, which completely totaled the Ferrari and nearly split it into two pieces. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene while is 23-year-old companion, Lacy Lynn White, was ejected from the car vehicle and transferred to the Western Medical Center due to a fractured elbow and other injuries.
Kirby fled the scene but was then arrested a few blocks from the collision. Kirby registered a .13 percent blood-alcohol level two hours after the crash (the legal limit in California is .08). He was originally held on $2 million bail, though it was later dropped to $500,000.
Kirby’s female companion, 32-year-old Lynn Marie Nabozny of Newport Beach, was charged with public intoxication and released.
Charles Lewis, 45, founded Tapout Clothing Inc. in 1997 with a trunk full of T-shirts and a few thousand dollars of start-up money. Over the past decade, he and his partners have made the company the biggest apparel success story in MMA.
Tapout, grossed $30,000 in sales in 1999, and pushed that number to more than $100 million in 2008 alone. The company now has licensed retailers (including the likes of Dillard’s and Champs) around the world and is one of the UFC’s most prominent sponsors. The memory of Lewis will surely be honored and respected in the company’s success.
Since originally posting this story, Kirby was sentenced to 9 years in prison. For more on his sentence, click here.
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