In a somewhat ironic twist, Jackass star Ryan Dunn was killed early on Monday, June 20, 2011, in a fiery car crash.
It wasn’t one of his daredevil stunts that Dunn was so famous for that killed him, but simply driving home from a party. Sadly, a passenger was also killed, and speed may have been a factor in the crash. The driver of any vehicle, plane, train or automobile is responsible if he or she loses control.
The car accident was so catastrophic that the force of impact shattered the vehicle into several twisted and blackened pieces, leaving the Porsche 911 GT3 unrecognizable except for a door that was thrown from the crash and not incinerated. A 100-foot-long tire skid marked where the car left the roadway.
My thoughts go out to Dunn’s family and the family of his passenger, Zachary Hartwell, as it always is hard to lose a loved one even though the person may have made a bad choice. But as a Virginia personal injury lawyer, my first thoughts are with the Hartwell family. The fact that Dunn posted a photo showing himself drinking with friends just hours before the 3 am crash leads me to believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, and I wonder if his passenger had any idea the danger he was about to be in by accepting a ride.
This isn’t the first time Dunn has been caught drinking and driving either, according to court documents, Dunn was charged in April 2005 with driving under the influence after crashing his car in West Whiteland Township, about 2 miles north of Monday’s crash site.
Drinking and driving isn’t contained to Hollywood starlets and daredevil reality TV stars. Right here in Virginia as well as North Carolina DUI/drunk driving has become a dangerous epidemic. Just how many lives are affected by drunk driving and drunk driving accidents, you may ask? Well, to be more precise, more than 11,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents each year in the United States. To make a point with teens who feel pressured to get into a car with a drunk driver, have them look at their watch. After the second hand has ticked away for 45 seconds tell them one person just died. Wait another 45 seconds, then tell them another has died. I can’t be anymore clear on the fact that driving drunk or even riding with a drunk driver is more dangerous than any stunt performed on Jackass.