Police: Drunk driver caught fleeing deadly crash


A Santa Ana man was driving drunk in the rain Tuesday morning when he smashed his SUV into a light pole in Irvine, killing one of his passengers, police said.

Tapu Aniceto Sitagata, 27, was arrested about a half a block away from Culver and Irvine Center drives about 3:07 a.m. on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and a hit-and-run.

Police said he was running away from a single-car crash that killed his SUV’s rear passenger and injured the front one.


The victim, Pesa Sitagata, 20, from North Las Vegas, died at the scene.

Tapu Sitagata suffered minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital. Police took him into custody as soon as he was released.

Irvine police closed stretches of Culver and Irvine Center drives until about 10:30 a.m.

Tapu Sitagata was transferred to Orange County Jail. He posted $100,000 bail early Thursday and was released, Orange County Sheriff Department records show.

Irvine police are still investigating the crash and have not turned over their report to prosecutors for possible charges, district attorney officials said Thursday.