|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 8, 2021
Case # 18HF1525
Public Information Officer
Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-504-1917
28-year-old driver was under the influence of narcotics when he hit and killed firefighter riding his bike in Mission Viejo
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 28-year-old man was convicted today of second-degree murder for hitting and killing an off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain in November 2018. The driver was under the influence of narcotics at the time.
Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 28, of Mission Viejo, was convicted of one felony count of second-degree murder of Mike Kreza, 44, of Mission Viejo. Scarpa faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10, 2021 in Department C40 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
On November 3, 2018, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Scarpa was driving eastbound on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo when he drove off of the road near Alicia Parkway and Via Burgos. He crossed over the bike lane and onto the sidewalk where he struck Kreza who was riding his bicycle.
Kreza, who spent 18 years as a firefighter with the Costa Mesa Fire Department, was taken to a local hospital where he died two days after being hit. Scarpa admitted to driving after having spent the prior three days ingesting controlled substances.
As a student at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, Scarpa participated in the “Every 15 Minutes” program hosted by the Brea Police Department and the Anaheim Fire Department to warn students about the dangers of driving under the influence. As part of the program, Scarpa was selected to be one of the students “killed” by an impaired driver. He was removed from the classroom, his obituary was read to his fellow students, and he was taken to an off-site location with the other students “killed” by impaired drivers to hear testimonials from people whose lives had been impacted by driving under the influence collisions. The District Attorney’s Office used that program experience to prove that Scarpa understood the dangers of driving under the influence and its potentially deadly consequences.
“The victim in this case mattered. He mattered to his loved ones, his co-workers at the Costa Mesa Fire Department, the community he served, and he mattered to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol unnecessarily costs the lives of so many innocent people. Mike Kreza is not a statistic. He was a husband and he was a father to three little girls who have to grow up without him. No child should have to be told that their daddy isn’t coming home because of the selfish decision of someone to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This defendant knew about the dangers of driving under the influence. He ignored those warnings, he killed a human being, and now he’s a convicted murderer.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.