As soon as the news broke that the Jackass and Viva La Bam star Ryan Dunn had died in a horrible car accident on June 20, 2011, the world seemed to let out a huge gasp.
But before the news had spread to major media outlets, film critic Roger Ebert soon tweeted on his Twitter page that “Friends don’t let Jackasses drink and drive.” The tweet would soon send off a firestorm of responses and criticisms from not only fans, but Ryan Dunn’s personal friends as well. (Jackass and Viva La Bam co-star and Dunn’s best friend Bam Margera soon attacked Ebert on his Twitter page for speaking on Dunn’s death too soon).
Police have stated that Dunn was traveling around 132mph in a 55 mph zone when his vehicle flew off the road over a guard rail and soared for 40 yards before hitting a tree and bursting into flames. One officer has publicly stated that it was the worst car crash he had ever witnessed.
Although Ebert later admitted that he may have “tweeted” too soon, he later wrote on his blog that “nobody has a business driving on a public highway at 110mph, as some estimated. Two people were killed. What if the car had crashed into another car?”
Before his death, Dunn was partying at a bar in Pennsylvania with friends and apparently drank three beers and three shots of whiskey before driving home at 2 a.m.
The actor and his fellow passenger even posted pictures of themselves drinking hours before their deaths online, but witnesses at the bar stated that Dunn did not “appear” intoxicated before he left the bar.
The passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell, an Iraq war vet, also died in the accident, and was listed as a production assistant on Jackass Number Two and was working with Dunn on his new G4 show Proving Ground before he died.
A toxicology report showed that Dunn’s blood alcohol content level was twice the legal limit when he died. The coroner’s report also listed blunt force trauma and thermal trauma as the official causes of death for both Dunn and Hartwell.
After his death it was reported that Dunn had previously had 23 different driving convictions in the past 13 years, ten of which included tickets for speeding. 90 percent of the convictions ended in guilty pleas, which also included 10 stops for speeding and careless driving and three more counts for driving with a suspended license. In 2005, he was arrested for drinking and driving but the charges were dropped due to him completing a probationary program and his license was suspended for over a year.