Driver Faces Life in Prison if Convicted of Murder for Death of Fire Captain
SANTA ANA, Calif. (Nov. 30, 2018) – Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo, will be arraigned in court on murder charges today for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs and colliding with an off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain who was riding a bicycle.
Capt. Mike Kreza, an 18-year veteran fire captain, was struck by Scarpa on Nov. 3rd in Mission Viejo. Police say Scarpa was driving his van eastbound on Alicia Parkway when he collided with Kreza near Via Burgos about 8 a.m. Kreza was transported to a hospital for treatment of major injuries, but sadly he passed away two days later, leaving behind a wife and three daughters.
It’s unknown at this time why Scarpa is facing murder charges for the collision. Usually, a first-time DUI offense leads to a gross vehicular manslaughter charge. However, prosecutors may upgrade charges if the motorist has been given a specific admonition on the dangers of drinking and driving. Investigators did find several prescription medications in the van driven by Scarpa.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Scarpa faces up to 15 years to life in prison. In contrast, a gross vehicular manslaughter conviction would not carry a life sentence.
The district attorney’s office did not explain why prosecutors elected to pursue a murder charge.
The loss of a loved one in a traffic accident is devastating to a family. It can be even worse if the responsible driver is not held accountable for their actions.
If you need help following a traffic accident and would like to speak with an experienced California personal injury and wrongful death attorney, contact our offices to request a free consultation at 855-703-4186.
— Johnson Attorneys Group is a proud, longtime supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).