The Other McCain

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Iraq Vet Killed by Drunk ‘Jackass’ Buddy

Posted on | June 22, 2011 | 16 Comments

Zachary Hartwell was a 30-year-old Navy veteran who had been married less than a year. In the wee hours of Monday morning, after drinking at a bar in West Chester, Pa., Hartwell made the mistake of climbing into “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn’s Porsche.

Dunn’s blood-alcohol level was .196 — more than twice the legal limit — and his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 was traveling more than 130 mph before the crash, police said. There was a skid mark more than 100 feet long on Route 322 near the Pottstown Pike exit, which some interpreted as evidence that Dunn slammed on the brakes after overshooting the exit. His car hit a guard rail and flew into the woods, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames. Both Dunn and Hartwell were killed.

Hartwell had worked as a stunt driver on the “Jackass” movies and also appeared in “Minghags,” a 2009 comedy directed by Dunn’s “Jackass” co-star Brandon “Bam” Margera.

Margera visited the crash site Tuesday and said: “[Dunn] was the happiest person ever. He was the smartest guy. He had so much talent. He had so many things going for him. It’s just not right.”

Dunn had been busted for DUI in 2005 after an earlier wreck near the site of Monday’s crash. He and Hartwell had been drinking Sunday night at Barnaby’s, a bar in West Chester where Dunn was said to be a regular. The night turned into a “massive party,” one friend said, when Dunn started buying rounds for the house and reportedly had at least three beers and three shots himself.

When film critic Roger Ebert tweeted about the accident — “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive” — it set off a backlash from “Jackass” fans, and Margera responded on Twitter: “I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterically for a full day and piece of shit roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents. . . . Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat fucking mouth!”

Ebert semi-apologized for what he called his “unseemly” comment, saying he “was probably too quick to tweet.”

Show of hands: Who thinks it’s a good idea to drive 130 mph at night while drunk?

Anybody? I didn’t think so.

UPDATE: Video interview with Margera:



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