SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who was driving under the influence of heroin was convicted today of murdering a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Newport Beach. Neil Storm Stephany, 24, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Jan. 15, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Oct 19, 2014, Stephany drove 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 swerved into the bike lane and drove into the back of 30-year-old bicyclist Shaun Eagleson. The defendant continued to drive into the guardrail and left the scene without stopping the truck to render aid or assistance to the victim.
Nearby witnesses called 911 to report Stephany's erratic driving prior to the collision and after the collision as he drove away from the scene. 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 5:30 p.m. the Newport Beach Police Department, who investigated this case, located and arrested the defendant near Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway.
Prior to the murder, Stephany had a 2011 DUI conviction and signed a Watson advisement which stated that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The defendant also signed this advisement again in 2013.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
*Defendant in this case was convicted of murder due to a prior DUI conviction
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14HF2889 / October 26, 2015