Ryan Fellows, star of the Discovery Channel’s racing show “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America,” was killed in a car crash Sunday near Las Vegas, prompting a formal investigation by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“The Street Outlaws family is heartbroken by the accident that led to the tragic death of Ryan Fellows,” read a statement from the show on Monday that confirmed his death. “We extend our deepest sympathy to Ryan’s loved ones as they process this sudden and devastating loss.”
The deadly crash in Nevada was first reported by TMZ.
The crash happened near North Las Vegas Boulevard and Harry Allen Power Plant Road in the desert about 25 miles north of Las Vegas, Officer Larry Hadfield of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said.
Production teams for the Discovery Channel had permits to film in the desert, and deputies with the department were in the area at the time of the crash, Hadfield said.
Brad Sparks, a close friend of Fellows, said the Discovery star was driving a gold Nissan 240Z when he apparently lost control of the car near the finish line. The car rolled over and caught fire before anyone was able to reach Fellows inside.
Deputies called for medical assistance about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Hadfield said.
Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed on Tuesday that it is launching a formal inspection into the deadly crash. A spokesperson declined to provide details of the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
Sheriff officials said the incident was not considered a criminal matter, and the case was referred to OSHA.
On Sunday afternoon, Sparks launched a GoFundMe for Fellows, in which he is described as an “avid car enthusiast and was a ‘warrior’ in many ways.” Fellows was married and had two children, ages 18 and 10.
Sparks and Fellows were friends for more than 20 years, and despite Fellows’ success with the Discovery show, Sparks said, Fellows continued to be the same humble, driven friend he’d known since childhood.
“Fame didn’t get a hold of him where it would corrupt his character,” Sparks said. “He was just very humble in that way.”
Though four years older than Fellows, Sparks said he always looked up to the “Street Outlaws” star. Even before the show, Sparks said, Fellows had maintained a number of successful businesses, which funded his racing.
“That payoff led him to his dream to go fast,” Sparks said. “He was in ‘Street Outlaws’ because he got addicted to winning and overcoming the finish line. That’s what fueled his drive to overcome any obstacle.”
The deadly incident would not be the first time one of the show’s stars crashed this year. In January, another star of the show, JJ Da Boss, and his wife crashed into each other in Texas while filming a race for the show. One of the vehicles caught fire suddenly in the middle of the race, then veered and crashed into the other car.
Officials with Discovery did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the incident.
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