Sports FAQ
Home / Mixed Martial Arts

Jeffrey David Kirby found guilty in death of TapouT's Charles "Mask" Lewis

JamieMCFC2010-12-12 11:37:30 +0000 #1
An Orange County, Calif. jury today convicted a man involved in a 2009 car crash that killed TapouT co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis.

Jeffrey David Kirby, 53, faces a maximum of 13 years in prison on one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated. He faced sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

That's according to a release issued today by the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Kirby's sentencing takes place Feb. 4 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, Calif.

The releases states Kirby was speeding his 1977 Porsche alongside Lewis' 2004 Ferrari in the wee hours of March 11, 2009, when he lost control of his car and hit Lewis. Lewis' car crashed into a cement light pole and was torn in half.

Kirby briefly stopped his car but then fled the scene. A Newport Beach Police officer witnessed the crash and called officers to the scene, where Lewis was pronounced dead. His girlfriend, Lacy Lynn White, who was also in the car at the time of the accident, was seriously injured after being ejected from the car during the crash.

A Newport Beach Police officer apprehended Kirby and a female companion, Lynn Marie Nabozny, after they were caught fleeing the Porsche in a nearby parking lot. The officer said Kirby appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

Kirby had a blood-alcohol level of .13 percent two hours after the crash, according to the release. Nabozny was arrested for public intoxication and later released.

The news prompted an immediate outpouring of shock and grief from the MMA community.

"He's the inspiration not just for me but for our entire company," Mark Kreiner, former CEO and President of TapouT, told ( ) soon after Lewis' death. "From the moment we lost him, we all had our grieving period, and then we all decided that we were going to fulfill his dreams. I don't think there's an employee that's worked less than 12 hours a day this past year."

Lewis 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, which grossed just $30,000 in sales in 1999, pushed that number to more than $100 million in 2008 alone. The company sold in September to Authentic Brands Group for an undisclosed sum.

A longtime comic-book fan, Lewis and his colleagues, "Punkass" and "Skyscrape," went the make-up-and-costume route soon after launching the company from a San Bernardino apartment. The costumes, grassroots-marketing efforts and an often-praised work ethic made the crew celebrities in their own right.

"I knew him for 20 years," TapouT co-founder Dan "Punkass" Caldwell said in an interview on the one-year anniversary of Lewis' death. "He was my best friend in the world. I feel like I learned so much in that period of time with him. I just want to use that experience and use that knowledge to go out there and affect people like he would have wanted."

PITTFOX2010-12-12 11:47:42 +0000 #2
Also apparently Mask was only doing about 60 mph and the passenger in the Porche said Mask wasn't racing.
Bduran2010-12-12 11:56:30 +0000 #3
If mask wasn't racing then it's a tragedy but if be was the fvck him he deserved to die. As far as the douche who was racing fvck him too.
benderschweiz2010-12-12 12:49:05 +0000 #4

60 mph? There's no way.
xxTapoutxx2010-12-12 12:14:01 +0000 #5

Originally Posted by benderschweiz

60 mph? There's no way.

ferraris are made to break in half when they crash IIRC
seansloan2010-12-12 13:22:12 +0000 #6
Cars that are made to break in half dont pass government safety regulations.Mask was obviously baited by some drunk driving a POS Porsche into a street race (as the police report stated) people do stupid **** everyday and die,this is another example of it.Unfortunately a bad decision cost a good guy (on all accounts) his life.



Other posts in this category