Case # 14HF2889
Date: January 15, 2016
DRIVER UNDER INFLUENCE OF HEROIN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN STATE PRISON FOR MURDERING BICYCLIST IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH IN NEWPORT BEACH
*Defendant in this case was convicted of murder due to a prior DUI conviction
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who was driving under the influence of heroin was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison today for murdering a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Newport Beach. Neil Storm Stephany, 24, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 26, 2015, of one felony count of murder.
At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Oct 19, 2014, Stephany drove a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, while under the influence of heroin, traveling westbound on East Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Near the intersection just east of Los Trancos, Stephany swerved into the bike lane and drove into the back of 30-year-old bicyclist Shaun Eagleson. The defendant continued to drive into the guardrail and left the scene without stopping the truck to render aid or assistance to the victim.
Nearby witnesses called 911 to report Stephany’s erratic driving prior to the collision and after the collision as he drove away from the scene. Paramedics arrived at the scene and transported Eagleson to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash. At approximately 5:30 p.m. the Newport Beach Police Department, who investigated this case, located and arrested the defendant near Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway.
Prior to the murder, Stephany had a 2011 DUI conviction and signed a Watson advisement which stated that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The defendant also signed this advisement again in 2013.
During the sentencing today, the victim’s mother and his wife delivered impact statements to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law. The victim’s mother spoke about learning of her son’s death and described it as the worst day of her life and that she continues to mourn him every day and feels unbelievable grief and sadness. The victim’s wife described what a wonderful husband Eagleson was and how the defendant robbed them of their future life together.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.