Man accused in 2009 fatal crash sues Hearst Corp. and passenger in car

The man accused of causing a fatal crash while driving drunk at Hearst Ranch in 2009 has filed a lawsuit.

Kurt Naegele filed a lawsuit Nov. 2 against the Hearst Corp. and Ryan Doheny, who also was in the car that crashed and killed passenger Darren Dahlman at an airstrip at Hearst Ranch.

Naegele, 42, of Newport Beach, has pleaded not guilty in criminal court to gross vehicular manslaughter and allegations relating to driving under the influence and causing bodily injury.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and claims Doheny was actually driving the car. It alleges that Doheny put Naegele behind the wheel while Naegele was passed out from the wreck.

The suit claims the Hearsts failed to inform Naegele that automobile racing occurred on the runway, and that “it had been allowed to happen in conjunction with parties and other occasions at the Ranch that were hosted by one or more members of the Hearst family.”

No formal response has been filed by the defendants in the case; it’s unclear if they’ve been served with the lawsuit.

Naegele — whose blood alcohol level was about 0.16 percent, twice the legal driving limit — was found behind the wheel and had to be extricated after the wreck, according to investigators.

The lawsuit was filed and signed by Timothy Naegele, a Malibu-based lawyer and Kurt’s father. The criminal case in San Luis Obispo Superior Court is scheduled for trial in late January or early February.