Mike Kreza, a Costa Mesa Fire Captain, has been critically injured after being struck by a driver in Mission Viejo the morning of Nov. 3. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the bicycle accident occurred on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos. When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, they found Kreza lying in the roadway. He was unresponsive with visible head and body trauma. Kreza was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.
Driving Under the Influence
Witnesses told police that the driver of a van struck the bicyclist going east on Alicia Parkway. The van’s driver remained at the scene. Investigators determined that he was driving under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the collision. Officials found multiple prescription medications inside the van.
The driver, 25-year-old Taylor Scarpa was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help with Kreza’s medical expenses. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Kreza and his family. We wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
There were no fatalities but seven injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in the city of Mission Viejo, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2015 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 17 people died and 1,022 were injured due to bicycle accidents during the same year.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the van that struck Kreza’s bicycle may have been under the influence of prescription drugs. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications that could cause someone to become drowsy or intoxicated.
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, injured victims may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County bicycle accident lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and help protect their legal rights.