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