The trial for Jeffrey Kirby, the driver of the Porsche that was involved in the accident that killed Tapout co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, began today. Kirby, who blew a .13 two hours after the crash, is on trial for one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury.
It appears the central argument is over who caused the crash that killed Lewis. The prosecution conceded that Lewis was racing Kirby at speeds in excess of 100 MPH, but argued that Kirby was the one who hit Lewis and caused his Ferrari to spin out of control into a light pole. The defense on the other hand claims that Lewis caused the collision when he approached Kirby from behind “at a speed that was absolutely frightful.” Defense attorney Mark Fredrick argued that Kirby was not responsible for the accident even though he was legally intoxicated.
In a rather puzzling statement, Frederick added that Kirby didn’t even know the accident occurred until hours later.
Kirby saw the Ferrari coming on fast in his rear-view mirror and attempted a quick lane change to get out of the way but instead started to spin, Fredrick claimed. Lewis was going so incredibly fast, Fredrick insisted, that he could not avoid the Porsche as he tried to blow by.
Fredrick also told the jury that Kirby did not know that he had collided with the Ferrari until hours later, believing that he had only struck a curb when he spun out.
Kirby, who stopped in his Porsche for three to five seconds after he came to a stop, did not see the crashed Ferrari, Fredrick said, even though the car was split in two and the concrete light standard was toppled.
Remarkably, this isn’t Kirby’s first DUI or even his second. He was convicted of his first in 1985 and his second in 2002. If he’s convicted on his third DUI charge and the vehicular manslaughter charge, he faces up to 19 years in state prison.
Image via Orange County Register