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California

Off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain unresponsive after being hit by suspected DUI driver

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Costa Mesa Fire Department Capt. Mike Kreza is pictured with his family.
(Costa Mesa Fire Department)

An off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain who was hit while riding his bicycle by a driver allegedly under the influence of drugs was critically injured and unresponsive Sunday, authorities said.

Capt. Mike Kreza was riding his bicycle east on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo at about 8 a.m. Saturday when a van hit him, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue said in a joint statement, citing witness statements.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, Kreza was laying in the roadway, unresponsive, “with visible head and body trauma,” the statement read.

The driver, Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo, remained at the scene and had “multiple prescription medications” in his vehicle, authorities said.

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Scarpa was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and was booked into the Orange County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Kreza is an 18-year veteran of Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue.

“Our entire Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue family is immensely saddened by the news that one of our own was involved in an accident this morning,” Chief Dan Stefano said in the statement.

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, the fire department said Kreza was unresponsive, in critical condition and “the next several hours are critical.” Kreza, the department said, was “surrounded by family & friends.”

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The Costa Mesa Fire Fighters Assn., the firefighters’ union, wrote on Facebook that Kreza was in training for Ironman Arizona, a triathlon consisting of a swim, bicycle ride and marathon.

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson


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