Tragedy strikes when we least expect it, and the shocking car crash that claimed the life of Ryan Dunn is a sobering reminder of just how fragile life can be. Best known for his appearances on the hit show "Jackass,” Dunn was a real American daredevil stunt performer, TV personality, actor and a funny comedian.
But on that fateful day, June 20, 2011, around 3 in the morning, everything changed. Ryan was driving his Porsche in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania, when his car hit a guardrail and then ended up deep in the woods, going up in flames. It's heartbreaking to say, but he didn't make it through that crash. The news of his passing left so many fans in tears.
This is the full, tragic story of Ryan Dunn – his life and his tragic end.
Who was Ryan Dunn? Early Life and Career
Ryan Dunn was born on June 11, 1977, in Medina, Ohio. But he didn't stay put for long. He grew up in Williamsville, New York, and later found his groove in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It was in West Chester that he crossed paths with his buddy and fellow Jackass legend, Bam Margera, on their very first day of high school.
While he had a knack for performing and entertaining from a young age, it wasn't until his friendship with Bam Margera that his path to stardom truly began. While Margera was already a talented skateboarder and Dunn was eager to shred like a pro, they started recording homemade skateboarding videos and pranks with their friends.
From there on out, their crew started to make a name for themselves, locally famous for their wild antics and crazy stunts, all under the catchy banner of 'CKY'—short for 'Camp Kill Yourself.' It wasn't all glitz and glamour, though. Ryan had to pay the bills, so he worked as a welder and even held down a gig at a gas station to support himself. But it wasn’t long before his life would eventually change for the better.
It all started when Margera's buddy, Johnny Knoxville, got his hands on those CKY videos back in 2000. He wanted to use some of that crazy footage for this new project he had cookin', which turned out to be the Jackass TV show. It was through that wild MTV series "Jackass" that Ryan Dunn shot right into the limelight.
The show, which aired from 2000 to 2002, featured a group of friends engaging in outrageous stunts, pranks, and self-inflicted injuries. Ryan's fearlessness, humor, and genuine personality won the hearts of millions of young viewers worldwide.
Following the success of "Jackass," Ryan continued to entertain audiences through various other projects, including movies like "Jackass: The Movie" and "Haggard,” and popular series like "Viva La Bam.” He became known not only for his wild stunts but also for his infectious laughter and genuine love for his friends.
Sadly, Ryan Dunn's promising career came to an abrupt end on June 20th, 2011 when he tragically lost his life in a car accident. The shocking news devastated fans around the world who had grown fond of him over the years.
How Did Ryan Dunn Died? Details of the Tragic Ryan Dunn Car Crash Incident
Events Before the Crash
Prior to the car crash that ended Ryan Dunn’s life, the MTV reality stunt show, Jackass, which Dunn featured in ran for about two years and even spawned a feature film in 2002. But as Jackass got more popular, the stunts got crazier. Ryan, he was one fearless dude. He'd try things that even his co-stars thought were insane. That's how he got the nickname "Random Hero."
In 2006, during the filming of the closing scene for Jackass Number Two, Ryan had a serious shoulder injury. It messed up his muscles and even led to a blood clot that could've killed him because it was so close to his heart and brain. They rushed him to the hospital for treatment. Dunn was also struggling with Lyme disease during this time and was receiving treatment for it too.
While he was seeking treatment for both the injury and Lyme disease, Dunn became depressed, and, for nearly two years, he cut himself off from everyone – friends, co-workers, you name it. He pretty much disappeared from the scene, missing out on all the movie and series events.
Thankfully, he eventually returned to the Jackass crew in 2010 for the production of Jackass 3D and Jackass 3.5, he said he was happy to regroup with the crew and he had more enjoyment working on Jackass 3D than any previous films.
Ryan Dunn Tragic Car Crash
On June 20, 2011, in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania, the world was shocked by the tragic news of Ryan Dunn's death in a car crash. The popular TV personality and daredevil stunt performer of "Jackass" was only 34 years old when he lost his life in this devastating accident.
Few hours prior to the crash, Dunn posted on his twitter account a photo revealing himself and his friend, Hartwell in seemingly good spirits with numerous fans and friends, drinking at a bar. Witnesses at the same bar he was as at that time revealed that Dunn might have had up to 11 drinks of alcohol between the hours of 10:30PM and 2:21AM.
Shortly after they left the bar at around 3:00AM, Dunn and his friend, Zachary Hartwell got into a Porsche 911 GT3 with Dunn behind the wheel heavily drunk. According to reports, the car was traveling at a high speed when it suddenly struck a guardrail and flew into some nearby trees at a speed of 130MPH before bursting into flames.
Unfortunately, Ryan Dunn, who had turned 34 nine days prior, and his passenger, a 30-year-old Hartwell, both lost their lives in the accident. The coroner's report confirmed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma and thermal trauma due to the car's blazing fire.
The impact was so devastating that it shattered the car into pieces, and there were these long skid marks on the road, about 100 feet long, which kind of hinted that Dunn tried to hit the brakes before the crash. Ryan Dunn and his friend’s body were burnt so badly that they had to be identified by their hair and tattoos.
Investigation and Findings into the Car Crash That Ended Ryan Dunn’s Life
Following the car crash, a thorough investigation was conducted to determine the cause of the accident. Police examined the wreckage, conducted interviews, and analyzed available evidence. Accident reconstruction specialists were also called in to shed light on the events leading up to the crash.
It was revealed in a police report that Dunn was the one driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Toxicology reports confirmed that Dunn's blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol level was around 0.196% — that’s more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% present in his system, which likely impaired his judgment and reaction time.
It was also revealed in the police report that excessive speed was a major contributing factor to the car crash. The report indicated that Ryan Dunn's vehicle was traveling at a speed of about 132 to 140 miles per hour which was above the posted limit of 55 miles per hour.
Prior to the drunk-driving accident that took Dunn’s life, it was revealed that Dunn’s had been declared guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol and because of that, he was charged to complete a first-offender treatment program which allows him to clear his record after a certain period of good behavior as part of his sentence.