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No Charges Planned in Fatal Crash

Courts: Director Eric Red will not be prosecuted over the incident in which his vehicle plowed into a billiard hall. He said he blacked out.

December 08, 2000|GINA PICCALO | SPECIAL TO TIMES

Los Angeles County prosecutors have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to press criminal charges against horror film director Eric Red, whose Jeep plowed through a bus stop and into a West Los Angeles billiard hall last May, killing two people and injuring six others.

A report released Thursday by Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Savitt suggested that Red was unconscious when his vehicle struck and killed pedestrian David Roos, 26, and bar patron Noah Baum, 34. Red had a history of fainting spells, but Savitt concluded that his driving with such a problem did not "constitute implied malice or gross criminal negligence."

Blood tests showed that Red was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the report stated. Witnesses said he was slumped over the steering wheel just before the crash.

The announcement shocked relatives of the victims, who dismissed Red's assertion that he blacked out behind the wheel on Wilshire Boulevard and crashed into Q's Billiards, a crowded hangout.

The district attorney's decision came after a six-month investigation by Los Angeles Police Department's West Traffic Division in which 42 witnesses were interviewed and Red's driving and medical records were reviewed.

Baum's older brothers, Brandon Baum, a partner at a Palo Alto law firm, and Eric Baum, vice president of legal affairs at Sony Pictures Entertainment, struggled Thursday to accept news of the decision.

"My family has come to me and said 'How can this be?' " Brandon Baum said.

Red's Jeep crashed through the billiard hall about 6:25 p.m. on May 31 with explosive force, sending wood and glass flying, witnesses said.

Witnesses report that inside the bar, Red got out of his Jeep screaming in horror about the injured people and began slashing his own throat with a shard of glass.

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