Jury selection begins for fatal car crash trial

Jury selection began this week in the trial against a Newport Beach man accused of causing a drunken driving car crash in 2009 at Hearst Ranch’s airstrip that killed a passenger.

Defendant Kurt Naegele is being represented by criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. He previously defended Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Scott Peterson.

Naegele, 42, has pleaded not guilty to 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 and Ryan Robert Doheny, both of Los Angeles.

Authorities allege Naegele was driving a Range Rover an estimated 105 mph or faster leading up to a fatal crash at Hearst Ranch’s airstrip Sept. 18, 2009, according to a search warrant filed by a county District Attorney’s Office investigator.

But Doheny told a CHP officer he thought they were going 35 mph, according to the warrant.

Naegele recorded a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 percent, the CHP said. He faces 10 criminal enhancements that would strengthen his penalty if convicted.

Jury selection in the trial resumes Monday at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Michael Duffy.