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Man pleads not guilty to murder in death of off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain hit by van while cycling

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Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, is facing a murder charge in connection with the death in November of Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza.
(Courtesy of Orange County district attorney’s office)

The man charged in the death of Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza pleaded not guilty Friday to one count of murder.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo entered the plea in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana and remains in custody with bail set at $2 million, according to Scarpa’s lawyer, Rudy Loewenstein.

Scarpa was charged Nov. 6 in the death of Kreza, 44, of Rancho Santa Margarita, who was hit by a van while riding his bicycleoff duty in Mission Viejo on Nov. 3.

Kreza died from his injuries Nov. 5. Firefighters said he had been training to compete in a triathlon in Arizona.

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Scarpa was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said after the crash.

Authorities allege Scarpa was in possession of pills prescribed by a Tustin doctor who was arrested Dec. 18 and faces federal charges of illegally distributing opioids and other narcotics by writing prescriptions to people without medical examinations.

Scarpa is scheduled to return to court Feb. 11.


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