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Kirby guilty in death of TapouT founder

December 15, 2010

A Costa Mesa man was convicted of manslaughter Dec. 8 in a drunk-driving crash that killed mixed martial arts clothing icon Charles "Mask" Lewis.

A Central Justice Center jury found Jeffrey David Kirby, 53, responsible for the March 11, 2009, wreck in Newport Beach.

That night, Kirby was driving his 1977 Porsche with a blood-alcohol level above .13 when he lost control on southbound Jamboree Road, north of Eastbluff Drive. Driving alongside him was TapouT clothing brand founder Lewis, 45, in a 2004 Ferrari with his girlfriend, Lacy White, who was riding in the passenger seat. When Kirby's Porsche spun out of control, it hit the Ferrari, sending Lewis' sports car into a concrete light pole. It split the car in half and killed Lewis, who lived in Huntington Beach.

White was thrown from the car and suffered broken bones but has since recovered. Kirby was accused of fleeing the scene after the crash, but the jury found that not to be true.

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Kirby's attorney, Mark Fredrick, argued that Kirby and his passenger didn't know what had happened to Lewis' Ferrari before they drove off. Kirby and his date were found by police down the street and arrested.

Kirby faces up to 13 years in prison at his sentencing Feb. 4.

—Joseph Serna

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