Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where Exactly Was Ryan Dunn's Accident?

It always sucks when someone succumbs to a horrific circumstance when it clearly could have been avoided, even if that person hadn’t made millions of people laugh in his or her lifetime. And regardless of my personal feelings about drunken driving, dangerous behavior, or anything else that may have been involved in Ryan Dunn’s fatal car wreck earlier this week, the idea of someone experiencing something as violent as what he endured is something I’d rather not think about.

If you don’t know, Ryan Dunn was part of the Jackass cast, a TV show notorious for dangerous, painful, ridiculous, and often outright stupid stunts. It was something the world was bound to see sooner or later, and it evolved out of the CKY home video footage Dunn and his friends shot in the 90s. Though they were basically extending the America’s Funniest Home Videos format into psychotic territory, the troupe was ahead of their time, producing the kind of content we’d all search for on Youtube years later.

Then, on June 20, 2011, at about 2:30 AM, Dunn and a passenger were riding in his 2007 Porsche 911 away from a bar where he had been partying, raising his blood-alcohol level to 0.19—significantly impairing his ability to drive a car, much less at the estimated 130 MPH the vehicle was traveling as it jumped a guard rail and slammed into a tree. Though it might seem appropriate to some that his ultimate fate would be in the manner of the lifestyle in which he lived, no one wanted this for him. However, many people want to know:

Where did Ryan Dunn crash?

Not to be morbid, but there don’t seem to be any highly accurate suggestions for the location where his car crashed. I don’t necessarily have an interest in his death, or visiting the site, but I’d like to take a few moments to do some research into the precise location of his accident using news reports, on-scene photographs, and video.

We know for certain that the accident happened near West Chester, PA. CBS Philadelphia reports that the wreck occurred on Route 322 near Pottstown Pike—the road which leads to Barnaby’s, the bar he had been drinking at. Here’s an aerial view of this area:

This view from a helicopter shows a police car, tire marks on the street, and a double-yellow gore in the middle of the road, which means that we can narrow the possible area down to everything near the overpass of Pottstown Pike:

The gore shown in the image only appears on Route 322 for a 1500 foot stretch near this overpass. Then there’s this image of a police car next to an overpass and a torn-out guard rail covered by a police line:

Comparing that image and the street signs in the area, we can clearly see in Google Street View that this is exactly where it happened:

So looking from above, we can see the guard rail his car struck:

You can take put these coordinates into Google Maps to go straight to the accident scene:

39° 58′ 24.38″ N, 75° 36′ 51.27″ W
Or simply click here.

[UPDATE 6.24]: There has been some discussion about whether the accident site is on the east or west side of the overpass. Though both sides have a guard rail, clearance height sign, and merge warning sign, we can see that he definitely crashed on the northeast side of the bridge. Take a look at this view looking east which indicates the merge warning sign in the distance:

A closer view of this sign shows that it says "LANE ENDS, MERGE RIGHT" instead of the "RIGHT LANE ENDS" shown in the image of the torn-out guard rail shown above:

Then there's this view of another police car with more skid marks showing the exit from 322 to S. Pottstown Pike:

This should clear up any confusion about where the accident occurred.

[UPDATE 12/23/11]: Google Earth updated their imagery of this section of highway since the accident occurred. You can now see that warning poles have been installed in exactly the location that Dunn skidded through (seen in the image above).


  1. AnonymousJune 23, 2011

    Your looking from the wrong side of the bridge.
    Take streetview a few clicks under the 'over-pass'
    and turn around 180 degrees. Then you can see the correct spot. Looks like he didn't make the turnoff.

  2. AnonymousJune 24, 2011

    If you physically go there you can see the actual area where the accident occurred. There's even a memorial area set up for him with candles and flowers. Rest in peace ry.

  3. Have either of you actually been to the site and can confirm that is definitely on the west side of the overpass? Judging by the focal length of the photo with the police car and street signs, my estimate is that the torn-out section of the guard rail is about thirty feet behind the police car, which appears to be a further distance than the guard rail even stretches on the west side.

  4. AnonymousJune 24, 2011

  5. Yep, those images confirm that the accident occurred where this article says it did. Thanks for posting that!

  6. AnonymousJune 28, 2011

    Why has no one mentioned the set of tire marks as if an oncoming car was possibly coming at them? Does anyone else see this set of tires as if someone was heading straight at them and they swerved to avoid them???

    1. What I find weird is that all the skid marks in the pictures seem to have different angels.
      Wtf is up with that? Also, I don't know a lot about cars, but those don't look thick enough to be skid marks.
      I feel like everything we see online and on TV is really all a lie now. I'm not going to come down to the conclusion that these pictures are photoshoped because I've never actually been there, but i am still a bit skeptical about them. I mean, multiple 'skid marks' all pointing different ways, on different locations on the road? Altered signs (Yellow sign went from RIGHT LANE ENDS to LANE ENDS MERGE RIGHT) I just don't know what to believe, Only that Ryan and Zach are dead. May they rest in piece and they will be forever in my heart <3

    2. The skid marks at different angles is the result of a spinning car. There's nothing suspicious or unusual about that.

  7. This is a REALLY good point. In the last picture you can see two sets of skid marks, which generally fade pretty fast, yet they both look brand new. The majority of this road is one lane in each direction, and I'd bet the speed limit isn't higher than 65 mph. If he encountered anyone else on that road, that could have been the trigger that sent his car out of control. If this is true, then there might be someone out there that knows more about exactly how this accident occurred.

  8. AnonymousJuly 09, 2011

    It's a dual lane road, the second car would have been travelling in the same direction as Dunn.
    You can tell by the way the skid marks leave a trail as to which direction it was travelling. It's possible that the second car arrived after the accident had occurred and the driver slammed on his brakes when he saw the fire in the woods, perhaps Dunn had overtaken him at speed further down the road so when the fire was noticed the connection was made.

    I personally think that the second skid marks were made by the person who ended up making the emergency call.
    In any case those skid marks will have been fully examined by the crash investigators, no stone is left unturned.

    In my opinion Dunn attempted to exit the road and was simply going too fast, the gap his car cleared indicates high trajectory likely caused by speed.

    Source: road traffic accident investigator for 14 years.

  9. You're probably right about that. Thanks for the great analysis!

  10. My condolences to Ryan's family. I hope the authorities find out how the accident really happened. It could really bring closure to his loved ones.

  11. The passenger had a name you know... Zachary Hartwell - Don't be so insensitive. You are SO WRONG at your location mentioned. Those lines, you call skid marks, in the bottom photo are too thin to be made by tires. They look photoshopped. RIP Ryan and Zachary. This should not have happened. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

  12. Thank you for providing the name of the passenger. However, I don't think I was being insensitive. I tried to be as respectful as possible with this article because I didn't want to sensationalize his highly publicized death. I said "Dunn and a passenger were riding in his 2007 Porsche 911", not "Dunn and some other moron".

    As for your suggestion that the location is wrong, I stand by my conclusion based on the third photo: The police car, the torn-out guard rail, the police line tape covering the torn-out guard rail, the "Right Lane Ends" sign, and most importantly, the very edge of another guard rail in the rightmost edge of the image.

    Now click to zoom in on the last image from the street shown above. You can again see the torn-out guard rail, the edge of the guard rail to the off-ramp, and tire tracks leading straight into the damaged guard rail where the police have marked the tracks with spray paint (the yellow dots).

    For further confirmation, check out the final aerial photo I posted above. It was never my intention to exploit Dunn's death; it was to provide an accurate location for those who wished to visit the memorial at his accident site.

  13. The tire marks in the photo from the helicopter with the cop car in it would seem to have nothing to do with the crash.. They are curved and cross over that double yellow line which totally contradict the straight on photo of the skid marks directly at the guard rail.. A car traveling at that speed would not make the marks in the helicopter photo.. IMO

  14. interesting but. if you want to go down that road. listen to the only time zach was on radio bam there is a song that comes on right after his interview where he basically blows the doors off of one of the biggest scams in the world. this song that sounds like the story of ryan and zachs death. he was killed off by pagans. the motorcycle club. him and zach hartwell were like bffs at the end there. and what zach was working on . caused his demise. someone hired the pagans. mc < to off zach . one persons name in particular who was involved in the "boozing up " was rob snyder < guy in pic not ryan or zach. big rob. country singer. im somone who is " in the scene" check out all the photos you will see what i mean . check out this image i mean . zach could have potentially fucked alot of peoples lives up with his documentary. he had death threats been hurt by people he ripped off as a usedcarsalesman. just sayin things maybe a bit different than you think ryan was there and also . was killed. take a look at the tire treads on the car. <wheres the fourth tire skid mark?look how they are not burnt and they way the accident happened does not make sense.( vehicular sabotage everyone in town knows that ryan drove like a bat out of hell.) heres the song "bigger than us" played after his interview. listen to those lyrics. couldnt have fit better. zach on youtube talking about it here is the link to the entire episode of radio bam where he was talking at length and during the interview bam states " yer gunna have ta dye yer hair blonde and grow a beard people are going to have you shot"<
    Radio Bam #247 - 02/5/11 go to google type cookandy radiobam to listen to it fully.

  15. In the new google satelite photos taken in October, you can still faintly see the skid marks.

  16. AnonymousJune 02, 2012

    I did a lot of stupid shat attempting to grow up, had I facked up like Ryan, I most likely would be in the same place as he is today.

    Its amazing that I'm still alive today, the chances I took on bikes n cars,Tadahiro Matsushita you remember our days in the red 6.6 TA, u like it fast??


  17. AnonymousJuly 23, 2012

    i live close to the crash site

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