In the end, a man who spent 18 years saving others couldn’t be saved himself.
News broke this morning that Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza had died, two days after he was after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo.
Kreza was training for an Ironman Triathlon when his bike was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp around 8 am Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos.
He was reportedly hit from behind as he was riding in the bike lane on eastbound Alicia Parkway, suffering critical wounds to the head and body.
Our brother, Mike Kreza passed away early this morning. Words alone cannot describe the immeasurable heartache felt by his friends & family, including his fire family.
No further information will be provided at this time.
RIP brother Mike, we love you! pic.twitter.com/g7IXcRDu48
— Costa Mesa FD (@CMFD_PIO) November 5, 2018
The Costa Mesa Fire Department had reported that he was unresponsive as a Sunday afternoon, and surrounded by family and friends.
Scarp remained at the scene. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI after police found multiple prescription medications in his car. At last report he was being held on $100,000 bond, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
Kreza leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.
This is made even more tragic, not just because of the families he leaves behind — both his own and the close-knit firefighter community — but because so many of us owe our lives to the men and women who devote theirs to saving others.
He died, sadly and needlessly, not in a courageous effort to rescue someone else, but as one of us.
A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised over $126,000 in just two days, more than five times the original $25,000 goal.
This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Orange County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mike Kreza and all his family and loved ones.
Thanks to Megan Lynch, Steve S and Steven Bonadio for the heads-up.