Aussie Businessman Admits Being Driver Of Sunset Strip Fatal Hit-And-Run

BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — An Australian businessman whose company once distributed “Girls Gone Wild” videos admitted he was behind the wheel in a fatal crash on the Sunset Strip last November, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Ryan Mathew Bowman pleaded guilty March 2 to a felony count of leaving the scene of the crash that killed 21-year-old Lauren Ann Freeman as she tried to cross Sunset Boulevard at Hammond Street the night of Nov. 10.

Bowman, 34, is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow at the Beverly Hills Courthouse.

Witnesses said Freeman was in a crosswalk, trying to reach a taxi, when she was struck by a dark vehicle and thrown about 50 feet. Freeman had been at a concert at the Roxy Theatre and was crossing the street with friends about 11:50 p.m.

Investigators found debris from the front end of a gray-to black-colored Bentley at the scene, according to Sgt. Chris Tatar. A charcoal-gray Bentley with front-end damage and no license plates was later found parked near La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.

Accompanied by his attorney, Bowman surrendered the following afternoon at the sheriff’s West Hollywood Station.

Bowman was described at the time as the founder and chief executive officer of Zeal Entertainment, based in Sydney.

Zeal Entertainment was one of hundreds of third-party international distributors that “Girls Gone Wild” used to distribute its content worldwide, but the two had parted ways about a year before the crash.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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