Driver Charged With Murder in Cyclist’s Hit-and-Run

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Authorities have charged the driver suspected of striking and killing a bicyclist on East Coast Highway over the weekend with murder, hit and run, and drug possession .

Neil Storm Stephany, 23, of Huntington Beach, was arrested after police located and identified him as the driver of the Toyota Tacoma truck that struck bicyclist Shaun Eagleson, 30, of Fountain Valley, on Sunday afternoon, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

Police were notified of a major traffic collision involving a truck and a bicycle around 5:03 p.m. Sunday on East Coast Highway, just east of Los Trancos, an NBPD press release states. Both were traveling westbound on East Coast Highway.

“The driver of the truck fled the scene without stopping to render aid,” the statement reads.

Eagleson sustained critical injuries as a result of the collision, police reported.

He died Sunday at 9:44 p.m. at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department coroner’s office.

Police quickly located Stephany at PCH and Newport Center Drive. The arrest was made official less than an hour after the collision, at 5:51 p.m., NBPD spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.

Stephany was taken into custody for multiple charges, including felony DUI (causing great bodily injury), hit and run, narcotics possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police.

His bail was initially set at $100,000, the NBPD press release explains.

Upon further investigation, police found that Stephany had a prior DUI conviction, the statement notes.

According to Orange County Superior Court records, Stephany pleaded guilty and was convicted of driving with a  blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more in 2011.

“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,” the NBPD statement reads.

Due to Stephany’s prior DUI conviction and that Eagleson died as a result of injuries he sustained from the collision, Newport Beach Police changed Stephany’s booking charges to include murder.

Stephany is currently being held without bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 14.

According to his facebook page, Stephany worked at a recovery center in Costa Mesa. The facility could not be reached for comment or confirmation.

His booking information lists his occupation as counselor.

Stephany has a history of drug, alcohol, assault and vehicle violations dating back to 2009, court records show.

In 2010, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

In March 2013, he was charged with assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, possession of an opium pipe and/or controlled substance paraphernalia, and a sentencing enhancement of inflicting great bodily harm. He pleaded guilty to the first two violations and the others were dismissed.

In December 2013, Stephany was charged with making criminal threats and assault. Both were dismissed.

In September, a restraining order was granted against Stephany due to domestic violence, according to OC court records.

Other violations include driving a vehicle with material on windshield obstructing or reducing driver’s view and driving a vehicle without a license.

 

Shaun Eagleson’s family has created a memorial fund on a crowd funding website, gofundme.com/g2gdss.

The fund was created to help pay for the funeral and burial, as well to support Eagleson’s wife, Sandra, while she grieves, the site states.

As of Wednesday night, $12,564 of the $15,000 goal had been raised.

The family also encourages others to spread awareness about responsible driving.

“Shaun was one of the most genuine, kind and humble individuals that I have had the pleasure of knowing,” fund creator, Olivia Eagleson, writes.

He is also survived by his parents, Sylvia and Craig.

“He was a great husband, son, nephew, cousin and friend to so many in his life. He had a deep love for his wife, animals and music,” the site notes.

“There has been a tremendous outpouring of positivity and love for Shaun and his family,” Olivia Eagleson writes on the site. “This outpouring of support further shows how much Shaun was loved and how much he will be missed.”

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