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Father-of-three fire captain dies two days after being struck by a suspected DUI driver

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Marilyn Kalfus and Nathaniel Percy

The Orange County Register

A Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue captain struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle remained unresponsive and in critical condition on Sunday, Nov. 4, with fire officials announcing on social media, “The next several hours are critical.”

A GoFundMe campaign was launched after fire Capt. Mike Kreza, an 18-year-veteran of the fire department, was hit while riding along Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo on Saturday, Nov. 3. Kreza was off duty at the time of the accident, said Carrie Braun, spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

As of 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, the fund raised $60,287 for Kreza and his family.

Sheriff’s deputies responded just after 8 a.m. Saturday to the scene of the accident on eastbound Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos, where Kreza was found lying in the roadway. Braun said. He was unresponsive, with visible head and body trauma, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Witnesses told investigators the driver of a van hit the bicyclist while he was riding eastbound on Alicia Parkway. The driver remained at the scene and, after being evaluated, was determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the collision, Braun said. Multiple prescription medications were found inside the van, Braun told City News Service.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was booked into Orange County Jail and was being held on $100,000 bail.

A candlelight vigil was held for Kreza on Saturday.

“Our entire Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue family is immensely saddened by the news that one of our own was involved in an accident this morning,” Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Chief Dan Stefano said in a statement. “We are working together to support the family and each other. We appreciate the strong showing of support from our brothers and sisters of the Orange County fire services and law enforcement agencies that have reached out to assist us during this difficult time for our fire family.”

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact OCSD dispatch at 714-647-7000. Anonymous tips can be submitted to OC Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

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©2018 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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