Jeffrey D. Kirby of Costa Mesa, California has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after his car collided with that of Tapout clothing company founder Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr., early Wednesday morning and sent him into a cement pole, killing him instantly.
Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa, Calif., has been charged with “one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and causing great bodily injury to multiple victims,” according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Kirby, who has a prior 2002 conviction for driving under the influence, faces a maximum sentence of 19 years and eight months if convicted. Lewis’ red Ferrari and Kirby’s white Porsche were observed traveling alongside one another in the same direction on the three-lane Jamboree Road around 1 a.m. PST on Wednesday morning, according to a Newport Beach police officer who was traveling in the opposite direction and witnessed the crash.
“Kirby is accused of speeding alongside a 2004 Ferrari…,” read the release, “… [and] is accused of losing control of his car due to his unsafe speed and crashing into Lewis’ vehicle,” which caused Lewis to lose control of his vehicle and collide with a cement pole. The Newport Beach Police Dept. has not depicted the accident as a “drag race.”
Those interested in leaving a tribute message in honor of Mask can do so at Tapout’s official website. A tribute phone line has also been set up in his memory. If you have a story to share or thoughts on Lewis, you can leave them at 1-888-6-TAPOUT. The line will stay open until late Sunday evening. The Tapout radio show will be airing the messages during shows in the near future and they will also be archived on the official memorial website that Tapout is creating.