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Surviving driver charged after crash

Police say vehicular manslaughter suspect had a blood alcohol content higher than the legal limit.

March 13, 2009|By Joseph Serna

A Costa Mesa man was charged with vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol Friday, two days after police said he hit another man’s car with his Porsche and caused that driver to lose control and smash into a light pole in Newport Beach.

Jeffrey Kirby, 51, is charged with contributing to the death of Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr., 45, of Huntington Beach, who died early Wednesday when his 2004 Ferrari Modena got ripped in two after slamming into a light pole on Jamboree Road north of Eastbluff Drive. Kirby is accused of speeding next to Lewis about 1 a.m. Wednesday and hitting his car, sending Lewis’ vehicle off the road. Lewis’ 23-year-old passenger, Lacy White, was thrown from the Ferrari into the nearby embankment and suffered broken bones.

Police said Kirby’s 1977 Porsche suffered moderate damage from the collision. A Newport Beach police officer driving by at the time the cars lost control told officials he saw Kirby briefly stop at the collision, then continue on.

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Police said he parked his car down the street on Bison Avenue and was walking away when they arrested him. A blood test taken two hours after the crash showed Kirby had a blood alcohol content of .13. The legal limit is .08.

A memorial is now at the site of the crash honoring Lewis, the founder of TapouT clothing, who started his business from the ground up.

Kirby faces up to 19 years and eight months in prison if convicted. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned later this month. He was convicted of a DUI in 2002.


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