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Trial for man suspected of killing Costa Mesa boy in DUI collision deferred to May

A memorial bench for 12-year-old Noel Bascon at the intersection of Arlington and Junipero drives in Costa Mesa.
A memorial bench for 12-year-old Noel Bascon at the intersection of Arlington and Junipero drives in Costa Mesa Monday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

An Orange County judge on Thursday postponed a murder trial for a Long Beach man who allegedly killed 12-year-old Costa Mesa resident Noel Bascon in a DUI collision in 2020. The trial is now set to take place in May.

Richard David Lavalle appeared before Judge Sheila Hanson Thursday in a Santa Ana courtroom, where public defender Jennifer Ryan requested the start of the trial be postponed until May 6.

Deputy District Atty. Daniel Feldman, who participated in the hearing remotely, indicated his office was amenable to the postponement. The defendant waived his right to a trail within 60 days of his Dec. 9 arraignment, allowing the judge to grant Ryan’s request.

Richard Lavalle, 59, of Long Beach, faces a murder charge for a December 2020  fatal DUI collision in Costa Mesa.
Richard Lavalle, 59, of Long Beach, faces a murder charge for a December 2020 fatal DUI collision in Costa Mesa that caused the death of a 12-year-old boy.
(Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney)

Lavalle, 59, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs the evening of Dec. 6, 2020, when he allegedly drove a rental truck through a stop sign at Costa Mesa’s Arlington Drive, near the entrance of TeWinkle Park.

That’s where Noel and his father, who’d been riding bicycles shortly before 6 p.m., were waiting in a crosswalk. The impact of the collision threw the boy several feet into the air, and despite efforts from a bystander and the police to perform CPR, Noel succumbed to his injuries.

Costa Mesa city officials in August installed a memorial bench at the junction of Arlington and Junipero drives with a plaque that reads: In Memory of Noel Bascon, Forever in Our Hearts.

On Monday, days before Lavalle’s trial was to begin, a laminated poster displaying various pictures of Noel enjoying TeWinkle Park hung near the plaque.

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