UPDATE: Actor Dies in Crash in Iowa County

UPDATED Thursday, February 4, 2010 --- 5:35 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An actor who died in a western Wisconsin crash had recently left acting to pursue painting.

Justin Mentell was found Monday morning after his Jeep went down a steep embankment off Highway 39 near Blanchardville and hit two trees.

Iowa County sheriff's department Sgt. Dan Carey said Wednesday there were no skid marks and it does not appear alcohol was involved. He says it's possible Mentell could have fallen asleep.

The coroner is doing more tests.

Mentell's agent, Sheila Wenzel, says the 27-year-old stopped taking acting jobs to pursue painting within the last year. He was living in Waukegan, Ill., where his mother lives.

Wenzel called him "a lovely, lovely person" who was a great actor.

Mentell was on "Boston Legal" from 2005 to 2006 and also in "G-Force" in 2009.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 2, 2010 --- 11:25 a.m.

DODGEVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- An actor from the TV show "Boston Legal" has been found dead near his crashed Jeep in rural Iowa County.

The sheriff's department says 27-year-old Justin Mentell of Waukegan, Ill., was killed when his Jeep went down a steep embankment off Highway 39 near Blanchardville and hit two trees. The crash was called in at about 8:30 a.m. Monday. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Mentell portrayed attorney Garrett Wells on "Boston Legal" from 2005 to 2006. According to the film database IMDb.com, he was also Terrell in "G-Force" in 2009.

The site reports Mentell was born in Austin, Texas, graduated from Waukegan High School and was a former member of the U.S. Junior National Speedskating team.

A message left with his agent wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 --- 5:00 p.m.

From the Iowa County Sheriff's Department:

On February 1, 2010 at 8:37 a.m., Iowa County Sheriff's Deputies, along with Blanchardville EMS, Hollandale Fire and First Responders were dispatched to a one-vehicle crash at STH 39 (.1 mile west of Moscow Road in the Town of Moscow).

A grey 2005 Jeep with Illinois registration was found down a steep embankment and the driver (and sole occupant of the vehicle) had been ejected.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the driver drove to the right, off the shoulder of the road, striking two large trees - ejecting the driver.

The airbag was deployed, however no seatbelt was used by the driver.

The driver was identified by the Iowa County Sheriff's Department as Justin M. Mentell, 27 years old, of Waukegan Illinois.

Mr. Mentell was pronounced dead at the scene by Iowa County Coroner William Finley.

NOTE:
http://www.justinmentell.com/ confirms his death.

According to IMDb -- Mentell appeared in the following projects:

1. G-Force (2009) .... Terrell

2. '77 (2007) .... Tony
... aka 77 (USA: new title)

3. Palo Alto, CA (2007) .... Ryan
... aka Palo Alto (USA: copyright title)

4. "Boston Legal" .... Garrett Wells (16 episodes, 2005-2006)
- Live Big (2006) TV episode (credit only)
- Smile (2006) TV episode .... Garrett Wells
- Breast in Show (2006) TV episode .... Garrett Wells
- Too Much Information (2006) TV episode (credit only)
- Helping Hands (2006) TV episode .... Garrett Wells
(11 more)

5. Roll Bounce (2005) (uncredited) .... Skater

6. At the Still Point (2005) .... Nate

7. Gotham, IL (2004) .... Johnny

According to Mentell's hometown newspaper, Lake County News-Sun, Mentell competed on the Junior National Speedskating Team during his high school days before majoring in fine arts at Northern Illinois University.