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Prosecutors file arrest warrant for passenger involved in fatal DUI hit-and-run in Costa Mesa

Meghann Carrie Carlisle, 38, of Costa Mesa, left, with Stewart Leacky Waithanji, 28, of Costa Mesa.
Meghann Carrie Carlisle, left, is wanted for allegedly harboring and concealing Stewart Leacky Waithanji, right, following a fatal hit-and-run DUI in Costa Mesa April 10.
(Courtesy of the Orange County district attorney’s office)

Orange County prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for a 38-year-old woman they say was the passenger of a vehicle that struck and killed a 74-year-old man during a hit-and-run DUI collision on Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa.

Meghann Carrie Carlisle, of Costa Mesa, has been listed as a fugitive by the district attorney’s office following an April 28 criminal complaint charging her with two felony counts of being an accessory to a crime after the fact and for her involvement in a hit-and-run collision causing serious or permanent injury.

She has also been charged with two misdemeanor counts of hit and run causing property damage, stemming from an incident that took place April 10 at around 4 p.m. on Newport Boulevard, south of 17th street.

That’s when, according to police, a silver Chevy Malibu, driven by 28-year-old Costa Mesa resident Stewart Leacky Waithanji became involved in a hit-and-run incident. Several witnesses, including the victim — identified by the Orange County coroner’s office as Richard Frost, 74, of Newport Beach — were attempting to get the Malibu to stop when Waithanji reportedly struck Frost.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, police reported.

Waithanji fled the scene and was later found by police outside a bar in Los Alamitos, according to an April 13 release issued by the D.A.’s office. That incident marked his sixth known arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Court records maintained by the state of Iowa indicate Waithanji was convicted for first-, second- and third-degree DUI offenses committed in January and May of 2016 and November 2017, respectively.

Prosecutors said that, at the time of the collision, Waithanji was wanted on warrants related to two additional DUI cases in Orange County, including an Oct. 12, 2019 hit-and-run collision that racked up a felony vandalism charge and a second hit-and-run that occurred during a Sept. 27, 2019 vehicle theft.

Waithanji currently faces one count of felony murder, along with two felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and two misdemeanor charges related to property damage caused during the collision. He faces a maximum sentence of life if convicted of all charges, according to prosecutors.

Carlisle — who court records indicate has also used the surname Nguyen — was taken into custody and released on April 13, D.A. spokeswoman Kimberly Edds confirmed Monday.

The complaint alleges Carlisle was the owner of the Malibu driven during the incident. Prosecutors allege she failed to stop and notify authorities or communicate with victims following the collision. She is also accused of unlawfully harboring, concealing and aiding Waithanji so he “might avoid and escape from arrest, trial, conviction and punishment for the felony.”

While the relationship between the two suspects is unknown, an online inmate locator maintained by the sheriff’s department lists Carlisle’s occupation as “receptionist,” while Waithanji is described as a “server.”

Waithanji is scheduled to be arraigned in court on May 12, records indicate.

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