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Australian businessman arrested in fatal Sunset Strip crash involving Bentley; detectives say alcohol may be factor [Updated]

November 11, 2010 |  5:04 pm

Booking photoAn Australian businessman has been arrested 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 officials said Thursday.

Ryan Bowman, 34, was being booked on suspicion of manslaughter after surrendering Thursday afternoon to deputies at the sheriff's West Hollywood station.

[For the record at 8:30 a.m. Friday: An earlier version of this post listed Bowman's age as 43. He is 34.]

Bowman is suspected of being behind the wheel of a Bentley that slammed into Lauren Ann Freeman as she was in the crosswalk at Hammond Street about 11:50 p.m. Wednesday. Freeman's body was thrown about 50 feet after the collision.

Sheriff's investigators said Bowman fled in the car, and debris found at the scene suggested the vehicle could have been a dark-colored Bentley.

They later found the luxury vehicle abandoned in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard about a mile and a half from the incident. That led them to  Bowman, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

"Bowman's attorney contacted us and surrendered her client to West Hollywood detectives," Whitmore said. "He invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and we booked him on [charges of] vehicular manslaughter."

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

-- Andrew Blankstein

Upper photo: The scene of the incident. Credit: KTLA

Lower photo: Ryan Bowman Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department