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Newport man sues fellow passenger in fatal crash

A Newport Beach man accused of causing the death of a passenger while driving drunk in San Luis Obispo County has claimed in a lawsuit that he was not the driver.

Kurt Duncan Naegele, 42, is suing Ryan Doheny, alleging through an attorney in a 41-page complaint that Doheny was the driver in the Sept. 18, 2009, incident near Hearst Castle.

Naegele claims Doheny, while under the influence of alcohol, drove a Range Rover at high speeds on the Hearst Ranch airstrip. The SUV eventually rolled over, killing passenger Darren Dahlman and injuring three others.

The lawsuit also states that Doheny is “a descendant of the American oil tycoon, Edward L. Doheny.”


Naegele was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and two counts related to driving under the influence, according to The Tribune.

He pleaded not guilty. The trial ended in a mistrial after a witness testified that Naegele was not driving the vehicle, according to the newspaper.

Another criminal trial is expected to begin early next year.

Hearst Corp., which owns the San Francisco Chronicle and other media properties, is also referenced in the lawsuit for allegedly failing to mention that the airstrip was used for car racing and for failing to take necessary precautions to prevent the accident from occurring.


Twitter: @lawilliams30