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105 mph speed led to fatal crash at Hearst Ranch’s airstrip, D.A. says

Authorities estimate a Newport Beach man was driving a Range Rover at least 105 miles per hour leading up to a fatal crash at Hearst Ranch’s airstrip in September, according to a search warrant filed by a county District Attorney’s Office investigator.

The warrant cites a CHP investigation that approximated the high speed using analysis that included an examination of skid marks, according to the warrant filed by D.A.’s investigator Dan Bresnahan.

The driver, Kurt Duncan Naegele, 41, faces gross vehicular manslaughter charges and two allegations relating to driving under the influence and causing bodily injury.

The crash killed 38-year-old Darren William Dahlman of Pasadena and injured passengers Christopher H. Pennell, 40, of Los Angeles, and Ryan Robert Doheny, 39, of Los Angeles.

Naegele recorded a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 percent, the CHP said. He faces 11 criminal enhancements that would strengthen his penalty if convicted. The enhancements include allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher; the legal limit for driving is 0.08.

Naegele has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled back in court March 29 for a pre-preliminary hearing and another hearing April 19, according to court records.

Duncan’s lawyer, Robert Sanger, didn’t return a call for comment this week.

The rollover wreck happened about 11 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Hearst Ranch property in San Simeon.

The men had been attending a birthday party as guests of the ranch and “witnesses at the party admitted that there had been drinking prior to the collision,” the warrant states.

Doheny told CHP Officer David Agredano that he thought they were going 35 miles per hour, according to the warrant.

But Doheny admitted saying that he and others discussed “how fast Naegele’s 2009 Range Rover could go and decided to go to the airstrip to find out,” the report states.

“Doheny admitted that it was a stupid idea,” Bresnahan wrote. “He said that it was pitch black and Naegele was driving badly and very fast.”

The vehicle was found several hundred feet from the north end of the runway down a steep embankment, according to the warrant.

Naegele also estimated the speed of the vehicle at 35 miles per hour when he spoke with an investigator, according to the warrant.

Beer cans were found strewn about the vehicle, according to the document.

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