News Briefs

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This week’s news from around Newport Beach.


Man Dies After Being Hit by SUV in Crosswalk

A pedestrian died over the weekend after being hit while walking in a crosswalk in Newport Beach, according to authorities.

Donald Fuschetti, 45, of Lake Elsinore, was walking southbound across Westcliff Drive along Rutland Road inside a marked crosswalk around 8:15 p.m. Sunday when an SUV hit him, reported Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella in a press release.

The silver Lexus was headed eastbound on Westcliff Drive when the collision occurred.

“The driver of the Lexus remained on scene and was cooperative with investigators,” Manzella explained.

Fuschetti suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to a trauma center by Newport Beach Fire Department personnel. He died at 11:15 p.m. that night as a result of his injuries.

The adult male driver and a minor female passenger in the SUV did not require medical attention.

“Although the investigation is still open and ongoing, it does not appear that drugs or alcohol were contributing factors,” Manzella noted.

 The circumstances of the collision are still under investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Investigator Dave Darling at (949) 644-3746 or [email protected].


DUI Driver On Trial for Killing Bicyclist in Newport Beach


Trial has begun for a man who killed a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Newport Beach while driving under the influence of heroin.

Neil Storm Stephany, 24, of Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Opening statements began Tuesday morning at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

At approximately 5 p.m. on Oct 19, 2014, Stephany is accused of driving 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 is accused of swerving into the bike lane and driving into the back of 30-year-old bicyclist Shaun Eagleson. The defendant is accused of continuing to drive into the guardrail and leaving the scene without stopping to render aid or assistance to the victim.

Witnesses called 911. 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 5:50 p.m. the Newport Beach Police Department, who investigated this case, arrested the defendant near Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway.

Prior to the murder, Stephany had signed an advisement for a prior DUI plea in 2011 which stated that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.


Fashion Island Tree Lighting

It may not feel like it but the holiday season as fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for the Fashion Island Tree Lighting ceremony.

Mickey Mouse and his pals are back again this year to help light the tree on Nov. 7 and 8. And to celebrate Disneyland’s diamond anniversary, they’ll be bringing an extra touch of sparkle to their tree lighting show.

The tree lighting occurs at 5:30 p.m. each day, and includes Disney music and character appearances, along with a magical snowfall.

More than 10,000 guests are expected during both evenings, so arrive early to find a parking spot as lots fill up fast.

The festivities are free and open to the public, and take place in the Neiman Marcus—Bloomingdale’s courtyard.

After the opening weekend, the tree will be lit each night at 5 p.m. with Disney-orchestrated music.  

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