For once, the charges fit the crime.
Last night, we linked to news that an Orange County bike rider had been hit by a vehicle Sunday evening. Sadly, the Newport Beach police announced this morning that the victim died later that night.
According to the police report, 30-year old Fountain Valley resident Shaun Eagleson was riding west on East Coast Highway just east of the Los Trancos entrance to Crystal Cove State Park when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck around 5:03 pm.
He was taken to a local trauma center for treatment, where he succumbed to his injuries at around 9:45 Sunday night.
The driver, identified as 23-year old Neil Storm Stephany of Huntington Beach, fled the scene, but was arrested shortly afterwards near the intersection of Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway. He was taken into custody on charges of including Felony DUI (causing Great Bodily Injury), Hit and Run, Narcotics Possession and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; bail was initially set at $100,000.
The charges were later amended to include one count of murder, based on Stephany’s previous DUI conviction. According to the press release,
Further investigation revealed that Mr. Stephany has a prior conviction for Driving Under the Influence. In California, a previous DUI conviction, and the subsequent required alcohol education, is considered an adequate indicator to suggest “implied malice” in subsequent DUI arrests involving the death of another party. That fact, combined with Mr. Eagelson’s passing, lead Newport Beach Police to change Mr. Stephany’s booking charges to include 187 PC – Murder. Mr. Stephany is currently being held without bail.
Yes, they even revoked his bail.
And they added one more thought that can’t be repeated enough.
Driving Under the Influence is a serious crime, with the potential for tragic and fatal consequences. It is also completely preventable. The Newport Beach Police Department urges all members of the Community to make responsible decisions and to avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or prescription medications.
Nice to find a police department and prosecutors that take traffic crimes seriously for a change. Let’s hope they don’t plead this one away.
This is the 73rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Orange County; that compares to 12 in the county for all of last year. And it’s at least the eighth fatal bike collision in Newport Beach in just the last five years.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Shaun Eagleson and all his loved ones.
Thanks to Frank Peters, Patrick Pascal, Lois and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.