Ryan Dunn had long record of speeding

Carol Woloszya of Phoenixville, who stopped by the crash scene in West Goshen Township, talks with other visitors, as people appeared in a steady stream. She said she was "sorry to hear" about the accident that killed two.
Carol Woloszya of Phoenixville, who stopped by the crash scene in West Goshen Township, talks with other visitors, as people appeared in a steady stream. She said she was "sorry to hear" about the accident that killed two. (SARAH J. GLOVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 22, 2011

Friends of Jackass star Ryan Dunn knew him as an adrenaline junkie behind the wheel, a lover of fast cars with a devil-may-care demeanor on the roads.

And he had a record to prove it.

In the 13 years before his death Monday in a fiery Chester County crash, Dunn was cited at least 23 times, including 10 stops for speeding and careless driving and three more for driving with a suspended license.

Among those violations - 90 percent of which ended in guilty pleas - was a 2005 DUI arrest. Charges were dropped when Dunn completed a probationary program, with suspension of his license for more than a year, according to court records.

"He drove too fast," April Margera, mother of Dunn's friend and Jackass costar Brandon "Bam" Margera, told NBC10 on Monday. "I yelled at him all the time about that."

The day after Dunn's death, several friends echoed her assessment as police continued to investigate the fatal collision, and family members went about making funeral plans for the TV daredevil and his passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell.

West Goshen Township police said they believe Dunn, 34, of West Chester, was driving at least 130 m.p.h. early Monday when his Porsche 911 GT3 veered off the Route 322 bypass near the Pottstown Pike exit.

The vehicle slammed through a guardrail, tumbled into a wooded ravine, hit a tree, and burst into flames. The impact was so strong, investigators said, that it shattered the car.

Preliminary autopsy results released Tuesday found that Dunn and Hartwell died of blunt and thermal trauma, but toxicology results to show whether alcohol played a role are not expected for weeks. Dunn had posted a photo of himself drinking with Hartwell at a West Chester bar only hours before the crash.

Outpourings of grief from fans, family, and Hollywood colleagues continued Tuesday both in public forums and in private.

About a dozen cars were parked at the crash site just before 3 p.m., where well-wishers added to a collection of flowers and cards.

Several of Dunn's friends declined to comment, out of respect, they said, for his family's wishes. Others described him as a master behind the wheel despite his speed-demon tendencies.

He frequently entered the Gumball 3000, an annual racing bacchanal that attracts sports-car drivers from around the world for a 3,000-mile breakneck trek on public roads.

In the 2003 race, Dunn squared off against a field of drivers that included Bam Margera and the skateboarder Tony Hawk. Another competitor that year is credited with receiving the speeding ticket for driving most over the limit in the world - 242 in a 75 m.p.h. zone - while on the course.

Hartwell had a behind-the-scenes connection to Jackass. He was credited as a production assistant on the film Jackass Number Two and appeared as a stunt car driver in Bam Margera's 2009 film, Minghags.

On Tuesday, Hartwell was remembered as an Iraq war veteran and longtime friend of Dunn's who married his high school sweetheart, Rachel, less than a year ago.

At the stone home the Hartwells shared just yards from the crash site, two flower arrangements graced the doorstep. Two people who arrived at the residence asked that the family be granted privacy.

A private funeral for Dunn was planned for Wednesday. Plans for a public memorial service are also in the works, according to his obituary.


Contact staff writer Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, jroebuck@phillynews.com, or @inqmontco on Twitter. Read his blog, "MontCo Memo," at www.philly.com/montcomemo.

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