A 34-year-old Australian businessman has pleaded guilty to one felony charge resulting from a hit and run collision last November that killed a 21-year-old woman who was crossing Sunset Boulevard.
The defendant, Ryan Mathew Bowman, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced on March 11 to 364 days in jail. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden Fox agreed to allow Bowman to complete the sentence at the Seal Beach Jail, and also placed the Australian national on four years of formal probation. The sentence also stipulates that Bowman attend a four-month alcohol education class and have an ignition interlock device installed in his car, which will prevent the vehicle from being started if he has been drinking alcohol. Federal officials will also initiate deportation proceedings against Bowman upon the completion of his sentence.
Bowman struck and killed Lauren Ann Freeman on Nov. 10 as she crossed Sunset Boulevard at Hammond Street. Bowman, who was driving a 2007 Bentley, fled the scene and abandoned his vehicle on Westmount Drive near La Cienega Boulevard. Police tracked the vehicle to Bowman, who turned himself in at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station the day after the collision. He was initially booked for vehicular manslaughter and released on $50,000 bail, but the charge was later reduced to leaving the scene of an accident. According to Jane Robison, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, authorities could not prove whether Bowman was under the influence at the time of the collision, which is why the reduced charge was filed. The guilty plea came as the result of a plea bargain with prosecutors.
Bowman is the director of the Sydney-based Zeal Entertainment, which owns the rights to “Girls Gone Wild” for Australia. He reportedly had an office at 9000 Sunset Boulevard, near the location where the collision occurred.
Sheriff’s department officials initially said alcohol was believed to be a factor in the collision, and the sentencing stipulation that he attend the alcohol education class and install an ignition interlock device demonstrates that prosecutors also believed he may have been under the influence. Robison said the alcohol-related portions of the sentence were negotiated by the prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney, and Bowman was never charged with being under the influence of alcohol. She would not comment on the plea agreement or how it was reached.
West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang called the incident a “tragedy”, and added that he would like to see more done to prevent similar collisions.
“This poor young woman was senselessly killed and the lessons are profound, but certainly not new. What really troubles me is that it seems like barely a day goes by when you read about somebody being hurt or killed in a hit and run,” Prang added. “Fortunately, this guy turned himself in, but there are a lot of other situations where the driver is never found. The lack of humanity is just staggering.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.