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Australian makes plea deal in fatal West Hollywood hit-and-run

March 10, 2011 |  3:04 pm

Ryan_bowman An Australian businessman will be sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a crash in which a 21-year-old woman was struck and killed on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

Ryan Bowman, 42, was charged with felony hit-and-run after his Bentley slammed into Lauren Ann Freeman last November as she was in the crosswalk at Hammond Street. Bowman had faced a maximum prison sentence of up to four years in state prison had he been convicted.

In a plea deal reached March 2, Bowman admitted to being behind the wheel of the Bentley that struck Freeman, according to a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. His charges were reduced to leaving the scene of a collision.

Bowman is scheduled to be sentenced Friday morning by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden Fox. He will spend an unspecified amount of time in a "pay-to-stay" city jail.

Bowman is a director of Zeal Entertainment, a Sydney-based company that provides content licensing agreements for mobile phone companies.

Freeman graduated last June from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles. She had just attended a concert with a friend at the Roxy Theatre when she was struck and her body thrown about 50 feet in the crash.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

Investigators said they found a Bentley abandoned in a residential neighborhood near Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard, about 1 1/2 miles from the incident.


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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Ryan Bowman. Credit: Los Angeles Sheriff's Department