Tapout founder killed in car crash

Charles Lewis Jr., better known to MMA fans as “Mask,” was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Wednesday morning in Newport Beach, Calif.

Lewis was the founder of Tapout Clothing, Inc., and the face of its popular reality show on cable channel Versus. Several sources within the company confirmed his passing.

At 12:57 a.m., a Newport Beach Police cruiser spotted Lewis’ red Ferrari and a white Porsche driving out of control on the southbound side of Jamboree Road, according to Lt. Jim Amormino, a public information officer with the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept.

The Ferrari then struck the curb and hit a street light, tearing the car in half. After coming to a brief stop, the Porsche fled the scene.

An unnamed female passenger was ejected from Lewis’ car in the crash. Newport Beach paramedics pronounced Lewis dead at the scene.

Newport Beach officers later spotted the Porsche and stopped its passengers, a male and female, who were seen walking away from the vehicle.

Upon further investigation officers determined that the male, Jeffrey David Kirby, a 51-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, Calif., was the driver of the vehicle.

Kirby was arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and taken to the Newport Beach Police Department. The female passenger, Lynn Marie Nabozny, a 32-year-old resident of Newport Beach, was arrested for public intoxication and released Wednesday morning.

Kirby’s bail is set at $1 million. The results of a blood alcohol test administered at the jail are forthcoming. No further motive for the accident is known at this time, according to Amormino.

Additional reporting by Jeff Cain

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    Updated Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009