A week after attending a memorial service for his friend and “Jackass” co-star Ryan Dunn , Bam Margera sat down for an interview with E! Online to discuss the car accident that took the lives of Dunn and friend Zachary Hartwell and talk about the final message he got from his fellow daredevil.
“He was my best f—ing friend in the world. It’s been five days now, and I can’t stop crying, man,” Margera said. “I just don’t think it should’ve been him.”
Looking drawn and tired, with wife Melissa Rothstein by his side holding his hand, Margera said the phone call he received about the accident was “pretty much the worst news I’ve ever heard in my life.”
The call came while he was asleep in Arizona, with Margera’s friends urging him to get on the line with his brother right away to discuss the news. Sounding and looking a bit woozy, Margera remembered that he was a passenger in a car Dunn was driving in 1996 that flew off the road in the same spot.
“He flipped me in a car eight times at the same exact spot in 1996,” Margera recalled. “Thank God I had my seat belt on, because [“Jackass” contributor] Chris Raab put one on me, but my brother didn’t have one on. He flew 40 feet. Thank God he’s alive. But like, Dunn was always a maniac at driving.”
Asked to recall the final words he spoke with Dunn, Margera pulled out his phone and read a series of texts the pals exchanged on the night that Dunn drank with friends at a Pennsylvania bar. “Are you all right, need me to come over there and get people out of there?” he read, laughing about a string of jokes the two had shared over the legal travails of former baseball star Lenny Dykstra.
“Stopping for a beer, be there when I can,” read the final message he got from Dunn, who was annoyed by the local traffic in West Chester, Pennsylvania, that night due to a local running event.
He also revealed that the high-speed crash — police estimate that Dunn was driving in excess of 130 m.p.h. in a 55 zone and had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit at the time — was just a block or so from Hartwell’s house. “And he must have just missed the exit,” Margera speculated. “He should have just f—ing turned around, but he skidded out and ran right into a thing … and seeing all these burnt, f—ing pieces of tree … that was tough for me. I went twice.”
Asked if the press focus on Dunn’s blood-alcohol level is a “disservice” to the stuntman’s memory, Margera said, “That doesn’t really matter at all. … First of all, I’ll say it about myself, it will take me three beers to even feel normal. If you drink three beers and then three girlie shots, whatever, it has nothing to do with that. He is a maniac in a car. He has a goddamn Porsche and he drives fast.”
Margera went on to explain that Dunn’s Porsche was the “lightest one possible,” outfitted with a Lamborghini engine, a turbo booster and nitro boosts, which he said caused the car to fishtail when it sped down the road. “I said, ’You’re gonna go right into a pole, dude,’ ” he recalled warning Dunn. ” ’You’re gonna kill yourself, man,’ ” he responded when Dunn joked that he was a race car driver. If he could go back to that night, Margera said he would have told Dunn, “Give me your goddamn keys, you idiot.”