Portion of 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa to be named in honor of late Fire Capt. Mike Kreza

Family members of Capt. Mike Kreza with Costa Mesa fire fighters in a Feb. 21 unveiling ceremony.
(Courtesy of the city of Costa Mesa)

More than three years after the death of Costa Mesa Fire Capt. Mike Kreza, who was struck by a DUI driver while riding his bicycle in Mission Viejo in November 2018, a permanent memorial honoring his legacy will be erected.

A portion of the 55 Freeway, between 19th Street and MacArthur Boulevard will officially be renamed in honor of Kreza with street signs memorializing the 44-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita resident who left behind a wife and three daughters.

Costa Mesa Fire Department personnel joined members of the City Council Tuesday to mark the culmination of a years-long effort between the department and state lawmakers to enact a resolution enshrining the tribute.

Two signs will be installed off the 55 Freeway, near the Fair Drive exits, late next week in honor of Mike Kreza.
(Courtesy of the city of Costa Mesa)

“It’s been over three years since we lost Captain Mike — one of the most tragic times in our history,” Chief Dan Stefano said to the council, flanked by the CMFD Command Staff. “But, as life goes, it’s about how you respond to those tragedies.”

Stefano detailed how city employees worked with state Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), former state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie Norris (D-Laguna Beach) to dedicate the “Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway.”

Two signs will be installed next week on the north and southbound Fair Drive exits off the 55 Freeway, Stefano said. Although Kreza’s wife, Shanna, was away on a widow’s retreat, the department held a family unveiling on Feb. 21.

Shanna Kreza provided remarks for those in Council Chambers Tuesday.

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 Department)

“The girls and I are honored to share this tribute of a memorial highway in honor of our favorite man,” she said. “He was an extraordinary firefighter [who] served his community extremely well but was an even better husband and father.

“I pray that each time you pass this sign, you’ll be reminded to smile big, love hard and live like Mike.”

Department personnel last fall rallied around Kreza’s family during the trial of Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 27, of Mission Viejo, who was on drugs Nov. 3, 2018, when his van drove off Alicia Parkway and struck Kreza. Convicted of second-degree murder, he was sentenced to serve 15 years to life in prison.

Firefighters raised $17,000 through the Costa Mesa Community Foundation to purchase the memorial signs. Bates, who flew in from Sacramento Tuesday, said words could not express the public’s gratitude for Kreza’s life of service.

“I hope naming this section of the highway in his honor will remind people of his commitment to keep Orange County safe, his dedication to that and his love of his family, friends and his community,” she said.

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