Aussie 'Girls Gone Wild' CEO Held on Manslaughter Charges

Nov 12, 2010 9:30 AM PST
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — An executive who runs the Australian version of "Girls Gone Wild" has been arrested in connection with the hit-and-run death of a woman on the Sunset Strip.

Ryan Bowman was arrested on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of a 21-year-old woman who was struck and killed by a Bentley while crossing Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said.

Bowman, 34, surrendered Thursday afternoon at the sheriff's West Hollywood station. He is being held on $2 million bail, with an arraignment hearing Monday morning at Los Angeles Superior Court in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bowman is a CEO and founder of Sydney-based Zeal Entertainment International, which owns the rights to "Girls Gone Wild" for Australia (The "Girls Gone Wild" brand is owned by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Mantra Films). He previously directed business development at Mobile 365.

Zeal, which has offices near the scene of the accident at 9000 Sunset Blvd., also owns the worldwide rights for the "Girls Gone Wild" mobile application outside the U.S.

Bowman is suspected of being behind the wheel of the Bentley that plowed into 21-year-old Lauren Ann Freeman on Sunset Boulevard as she was in the crosswalk at Hammond Street late Wednesday night.

She was thrown about 50 feet after the collision, officials said.

Bowman, 34, allegedly fled in the Bentley but later deputies found it abandoned in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard.

"He invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and we booked him on [charges of] vehicular manslaughter," Sheriff's detective Steve Whitmore told KTLA.

Whitmore said alcohol "most likely played a role in this tragic event."

Freeman, a fashion design graduate who had been at the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard, had stepped out onto a pedestrian crossing when she was struck

Management at the Roxy turned off its lights on Thursday night in her memory.

"I have seen a lot but nothing like the unthinkable tragedy that happened last night," Roxy owner Nic Adler said. "[T]o the family and friends of the victim, we have you deep in our hearts and loud in our prayers."

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