His funeral at Crystal Cathedral drew thousands of friends and fans. People talked about how his ambition forced him to risk it all, leaving his job as a sheriff's deputy to sell TapouT shirts out of the back of his car. No one had even heard of his brand back then. Now it's a $50-million company.
When Huntington Beach resident Charles "Mask" Lewis was killed in a Newport Beach car crash in March 2009, fans of mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship league and TapouT were devastated.
The skid marks swerving right on southbound Jamboree Road north of Bison Avenue showed where Lewis' Ferrari headed: straight into a concrete light pole. The collision split the car in half, killing Lewis and throwing a female passenger onto a dirt embankment, breaking her elbow. In the months that followed, TapouT posters, clothing and candles remained at the crash site.
Now, 20 months since that late-night crash, the man prosecutors said was drunk behind the wheel of his own sports car and hit Lewis' Ferrari, causing the crash, is headed for trial Monday at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.