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Vigil for 21-yr-old killed in Sunset hit-run

November 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Friends of Lauren Freeman, the 21-year-old killed in a hit-and-run Wednesday, held a candlelight vigil on the sidewalk of the busy Sunset Strip where she was struck. The suspect in the collision, Ryan Bowman, was booked for investigation of felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of 21-year-old Freeman. He is the Australian distributor of "Girls Gone Wild" videos.

Brittany Haggerty was emotional as she talked about losing her friend. On Wednesday night Lauren Freeman of Hollywood was crossing Sunset Boulevard after leaving a concert at the Roxy Theatre. Haggerty says the two were supposed to meet after the concert.

Freeman was an aspiring designer who went to fashion school in Los Angeles after moving from Maryland. Investigators believe she was hit by 34-year-old Bowman, who allegedly left the scene. Bowman turned himself in Thursday.

"We got a call from an attorney, and the attorney said we would like to bring him in, and they did, and without incident. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right," said L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. Spokesman Steve Whitmore. "He has every right to do that in this country. He refused to comment."

Investigators believe Bowman was driving a Bentley. It was found less than a mile away parked in a residential neighborhood near Rosewood Avenue.

"Our detectives found out who this person was very quickly. The car was abandoned about a mile and a half from the incident, and hours later they discovered who it was," said Whitmore.

Bowman is an Australian businessman and owner of Zeal Entertainment, located on Sunset Boulevard, a short distance from where the collision occurred. The company is the Australian distributor of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos.

According to Australian media reports, back in 2007 he tried to set up a controversial cruise to attract high-school graduates and get them to behave badly for the cameras. Officials said it encouraged drinking to promote his videos.

Sheriff's officials are investigating to see if alcohol was a factor in Wednesday's collision.

"Blood-alcohol tests were administered. There is other evidentiary materials that perhaps may lead to the fact that alcohol may be involved," said Whitmore.

Bowman's arraignment is set for Monday in Beverly Hills court. His bail is set at $2 million. His passport has been confiscated so he can't leave the country.


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