Advertisement
Share

Murder trial begins Monday for DUI driver charged with killing Costa Mesa fire captain

Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 27, will appear in court Monday for the November 2018 death of Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza.
Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 27, will appear in court Monday on a charge of murder for the November 2018 death of Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza.
(Courtesy of Orange County district attorney’s office)

A murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday in the case of a Mission Viejo man who is alleged to have fatally struck an off-duty Costa Mesa Fire Captain in 2018 while driving under the influence of multiple substances, court records indicate.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa, now 27, was charged with murder in the Nov. 5, 2018 death of 44-year-old Mike Kreza, a Rancho Santa Margarita resident and father of three who served with the Costa Mesa Fire Department for 18 years before his death.

Kreza was off duty and riding his bike in Mission Viejo on Nov. 3 when a van driven by Scarpa drove off the roadway at Alicia Parkway and traveled 8 feet across the curb line, a sidewalk and an embankment, striking Kreza.

Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza, pictured with his family
Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza, pictured with his family, died in November 2018 after being hit by a van while riding his bicycle in Mission Viejo.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue)

Police officers testified in a 2019 preliminary hearing Scarpa was found sitting on a curb immediately following the incident. During an interview, one officer testified, the suspect was using slurred speech and exhibiting repetitive movements.

Scarpa reported to officers he had taken anxiety pills and had used methamphetamine and fentanyl intravenously at a party earlier that day.

Kreza, who’d been reportedly training for a triathlon in Arizona, was rendered unconscious with severe head and body trauma and was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where he died two days later. A GoFundMe account started by a colleague, benefiting the Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn. Widows and Orphans Fund, collected $231,486.

A November 2018 memorial service drew more than 1,300 people to honor Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza.
A November 2018 memorial service drew more than 1,300 people to honor Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza, who was killed in Mission Viejo after being struck by a van.
(File Photo)

According to an online prison inmate locator maintained by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Scarpa is currently being held in the county’s Theo Lacy Facility. By the time he appears in court Monday, he will have spent 1,032 days in custody.

Court records indicate that on Oct. 29, 2019 Scarpa received an additional felony charge for being in possession of a controlled substance while in jail. It is unclear whether he ever answered to that charge.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.


Advertisement