Man pleads not guilty in hit-run of doctor

A driver accused of hitting and killing a doctor as she biked with her husband in Newport Coast pleaded not guilty Friday in Orange County Superior Court, according to a court official.

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim, faces one count of felony hit-and-run causing permanent and serious injury and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter, court records show.

Lopez stands accused of colliding with 57-year-old Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz on Newport Coast Drive on Sept. 15 and fleeing the scene without stopping to render aid.

Campion Ritz died later at a Mission Viejo hospital, according to the Orange County coroner's office.

The victim served as the president of Greater Newport Physicians for 18 years.

If Lopez is convicted he faces up to eight years in state prison.

He's next expected in court Nov. 7.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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