Mistrial declared in fatal crash

An Orange County Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the murder case against a Costa Mesa man accused of killing a woman in a car crash on Valentine's Day 2010.

Gustavo Adrian Vega, 23, was ready for trial Wednesday morning at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana when the judge tossed out the case because two defense witnesses failed to show up.

At about 2:30 a.m. Feb. 14, 2010, Vega, a former Orange Coast College student, allegedly ran a red light while driving drunk on Sunflower Avenue near South Coast Plaza and barreled into a car in which Cara Lee, 20, was riding.

Lee, an aspiring model who had beaten cervical cancer and worked as a recreational youth leader in Newport Beach, was killed in the crash.

Her friend was driving and suffered minor injuries.

Prosecutors argue Vega fled the scene on foot after the crash, running into a nearby housing complex where police found him. He's accused of having a blood alcohol level of .17, more than twice the legal limit, and of having a small amount of cocaine in his pocket.

Authorities claim Vega had been drinking in Santa Ana earlier in the day and had hit a parked car there before driving into Costa Mesa, where he crashed.

Vega was charged with murder because of a prior DUI conviction that required he take classes that explained the dangers of drinking and driving. He is also charged with felony hit and run, possession of cocaine and misdemeanor hit and run involving another victim.

Attorneys will be back in court Friday to begin setting a new trial date. It was unclear if the judge will issue a warrant to force the two defense witnesses to show up in court.

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